Long before cafeteria-style food markets became a hot culinary trend nationwide, Baltimore’s historic public markets (the oldest continuously operating public market system in the United States) were serving up seafood, sandwiches and sweets to its locals on the regular. Here’s our guide to the best markets in town.
One of the first public markets in Baltimore, Broadway Market was established in 1786 in the historic Fell’s Point district. The modern incarnation blends old-world vendors like Sophia’s Place European Deli and Sal’s Seafood with new culinary concepts like the Korean all-day bar Fat Tiger—the latest from restaurateur Phil Han, of foodie destinations Dooby’s, Noona’s and Sugarvale—and local favorites like Taharka Bros ice cream. The south shed features Choptank, a popular destination for steamed crabs, fresh seafood and an outdoor libations.
Cross Street Market
Originally an open-air market, Cross Street Market was built into a two-story Italianate structure at the end of the 1800s. The building burned down in the 1950s and was rebuilt the next year into its current form. After a massive renovation that included restoring the entrances to the original 1950s designs and adding communal seating, the market reopened to diners in 2019.
Old standbys like Steve’s Lunch and Fenwick’s Choice Meats join up with newcomers destined to serve up new favorite dishes—including bao buns at Rice Crook, banh mi at Phubs, and vegan burrito bowls at Gangster Vegan Organics. Coffee from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee, craft beer from Cans Filling Station and family grocery Rooster & Hen round out the selection. Coming in the fall of 2020, Atlas Fish Market will open on the Charles Street side of the market with fresh seafood options and rooftop seating.
Hollins Market, located in the neighborhood of Pigtown (also called Washington Village), is the oldest public market building still operating in the city of Baltimore. During the Civil War, the market served as a supply shop for soldiers. The 17,128 square foot, two story market includes culinary offerings from businesses like Eddie’s Lunch (try the fish sandwiches or the BLT), Jack’s Poultry for all your (uncooked) chicken needs, and fruits and veg from L&R Produce.
Founded in 1782, Lexington Market is the oldest continually running market in America. Visitors and locals alike come back again and again for favorites that have been in operation for decades like Faidley’s Seafood and Connie’s Chicken and Waffles. The market is currently undergoing a major renovation, which will result in a walkable urban plaza. For more information about the transformation of Lexington Market, click here.
Mount Vernon Marketplace
Located around the corner from the Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Historical Society, Mount Vernon Marketplace has dishes for every diner. Try local specialties from vendors like Pinch Dumplings, The Local Oyster, Cultured charcuterie, or grab a drink from Taps Fill Station, which features everything from local craft beer to kombucha. The marketplace also hosts fun events, like trivia, live music, a holistic healing day, and the (adult!) Buzzed Spelling Bee for National Grammar Day.
Northeast Market has been a destination for Baltimoreans since it was established in 1885. With more than 30 local small businesses, prepared food stalls, carryout, local produce and more, it also has a focus on healthy eating. Some of the most popular vendors include Gangnam BBQ, Jackpot Seafood and Fellner’s Meats.
Located near Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore Museum of Art, R House is located in a former automotive show room in Remington. Featuring nearly a dozen casual, chef-driven concepts and a 50,000-square-foot space, the food hall is at once edgy and kid-friendly. Stalls offer everything from tacos to Hawaiian poke to vegan smoothies. There’s also a central bar serving local craft beer and artisanal seasonal cocktails. In addition to all the food and drink offerings, R. House hosts events like trivia nights and live music performances.