Just like many other industries in Baltimore, the culinary scene is loaded with ambition, ideas, and innovation. Our city is home to several kitchen incubators, devoted to helping emerging chefs and budding entrepreneurs realize their dreams with a supportive team behind them. And many of the city’s restaurants—both new and less so—are on the same page, finding new ways to approach a growing foodie culture, whether through hyperlocal foraging or on-site beekeeping.
Described as a “hyper-seasonal” eatery, this petite restaurant takes farm-to-table to the next level—the forest. Foraged chef Chris Amendola turned his passion for finding food in nature into a menu here, loaded with local, seasonal, and foraged ingredients, offset by a nose-to-tail program, and sprinkled with flowers and herbs grown in a hydroponic garden installation on one interior wall.
Address: 3520 Chestnut St.
Think vegan food is bland and boring? Think again. This stand, one of nine in trendy food hall R. House, concocts a flavorful, satisfying menu exclusively from plants, with a focus on sustainable sourcing and equal employment. Standouts include street food favorites like Korean Barbecue Cauliflower and a wild mushroom “Philly cheesesteak” (complete with a cashew-milk approximate of Cheez Whiz). Freshly pressed juices and a selection of small-batch provisions round out the creative offerings.
Address: 301 W. 29th St.
Baltimore’s Royal Sonesta hotel is known to attract tourists with its prime location alongside the beautiful Inner Harbor. But the hotel is also a hub for 30,000 other busy travelers—local honey bees. Through a collaboration with local nonprofit Baltimore Honey, the hotel maintains an onsite apiary, where bees produce natural, organic raw honey that is harvested and used in the hotel’s food and signature cocktail. Executive Chef Josean Rosado became a certified beekeeper to help run the program.
Seats: 10-220, depending on room
Neighborhood: Inner Harbor
Address: 550 Light St.
A modern setting—the rooftop of the Four Seasons—married with a historic fantasy approach, this chic restaurant commits to a concept. Chef Matthew Oetting took inspiration from the glamorous ‘20s and ‘30s, then blended it with nouvelle cuisine of the post-World War II era and today’s trends to establish his French-inspired menu. The result: A truly special dining experience.
Neighborhood: Harbor East
Address: 400 International Dr.
At just over a decade old, Woodberry Kitchen has long since shed its label as the newest culinary hot spot in town—but it remains one of the city’s very best restaurants. Helmed by the city’s first James Beard Award-winning chef, Spike Gjerde, this Hampden mainstay takes a nearly obsessive approach to local sourcing, with a menu that is fully driven by supporting regional growers and reflecting Chesapeake Bay culinary tradition. It was an unusual concept at its opening in 2007—but the inventive concoctions and hyperlocal sustainability still feel fresh today.
Address: 2010 Clipper Park Rd.
A partnership between the founders of the Ivy Bookstore and Artifact Coffee, the food side of this cafe is led by Spike Gjerde—which means the menu isn’t your average cafe fare. Instead, Gjerde’s signature farm-to-table approach and commitment to sustainability abounds, with boutique coffee roasters, locally sourced pastries, elevated sandwiches, fresh-pressed juices, and house-blended tisanes all on the list. His influence touches the book selection, too, with some of his favorites on display.
Neighborhood: Charles Village
Address: 11 E. 33rd St.