Family-Owned Restaurants in Baltimore

Food-focused travelers and locals know a good meal is easy to come by in Baltimore. If you’re hungry to support the local community, you’ll find local, family-owned restaurants in all corners of the city. You can also learn more about our family-owned restaurants here. 

1 of 17


Located in: Hampden
Husband-and-wife team David and Laura Alima opened this handcrafted ice cream shop on Hampden’s main drag, The Avenue, in the summer of 2013, and recently expanded to add a larger location at nearby Union Collective. The Maryland natives use local ingredients whenever possible, and are scooping Baltimore-inspired flavors like Old Bay Caramel and Berger Cookies & Cream.

2 of 17


Located in: Little Italy
This family owned restaurant opened in 1955 and its history spans three generations. Currently, Lisa Morekas works at the restaurant alongside her father, brother, son, and nephew—and the restaurant also employs many families. “The majority of [our employees] have been here for 15 or more years,” she says.

3 of 17

Da Mimmo

Located in: Little Italy
In 1984, Mimmo and Mary Ann Cricchio converted a Baltimore rowhome into an Italian restaurant. Da Mimmo has now been around for more than three decades, and it still serves the same original family recipes. The cuisine has attracted some famous clientele—Michael Buble, Danny Devito, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, and Sylvester Stallone, to name a few—whose photos grace the walls of their cocktail lounge.

4 of 17


Located in: Charles Village
Cookbook author and television host John Shields and his husband, John Gilligan, opened this restaurant inside the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1998. It’s named after Shields’ grandmother, Gertrude Cleary, who taught him how to cook. The restaurant serves Chesapeake-inspired dishes like crab cakes, single-fry oysters, corn fritters, and more.

5 of 17


Located in: Woodberry
Once named a best new chef in American by Food & Wine, chef Robbin Haas helped define Southern Florida cuisine for two decades. After he and his wife, Tanya, spent seven years running two restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala, the pair moved to Baltimore to open the wildly successful Birroteca, which serves artisan pizzas, Italian small plates, and craft beer.

6 of 17

Nickel Taphouse

Located in: Mount Washington
Robbin Hass might be well known in Miami and Guatemala—not to mention in Baltimore—but Buffalo was his hometown. The concept for Nickel Taphouse pays homage to Robbin’s roots; it’s an upscale take on a working-class tavern you might find in Buffalo. The menu features Buffalo staples seldom seen in Baltimore, like the Beef on Weck: beef that’s carved barside and piled on a kummelweck roll.

7 of 17


Located in: Federal Hill
The most recent restaurant from Robbin and Tanya Haas is Encantada, located within the American Visionary Art Museum. The Haas’ are visionaries themselves: they see veggies as the new meat. “A traditional chef looks at what we call the center of the plate and sees a protein,” Robbin told Baltimore Magazine. “But we’re trying to make it where vegetables are the center of the plate.”

8 of 17


Located in: Mount Vernon
Julia Belton says that growing up in an Italian household inspired her to become a chef and it also put hospitality in her blood. She and her partner Vanna, a graduate of Cornell's Business Hospitality School, opened this American small plates restaurant in 2015.

9 of 17

The Helmand

Located in: Mount Vernon
This local landmark has been serving Afghan cuisine since 1989. It is owned and operated by Qayum Karzai, the elder brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and his wife Patricia. The name is an homage to the river that runs through the predominantly dry country, and it is also the name of the owner’s first-born son.

10 of 17

Tapas Teatro

Located in: Station North Arts & Entertainment District
Situated adjacent to the historic Charles Theatre, Tapas Teatro serves Spanish small plates and is known for their sangria. The restaurant is another creation of Qayum Karzai, who teamed up with Mary Ellen Massi—an employee of his at the Helmand for more than a decade—to bring the restaurant to life.

11 of 17


Located in: Canton
Husband-and-wife team Edward Bosco and Marianne Kresevich saw a need for Neapolitan pizza in Baltimore and opened Verde in 2012 after moving from Chicago to Charm City. “We wanted to elevate Baltimore’s perspective of pizza,” says Edward. In addition to pizza, the restaurant serves 20 Italian microbrew beers.

12 of 17

Miss Shirley’s Café

Located in: Roland Park / Inner Harbor / Annapolis
Eddie Dopkin established this restaurant as a 42-seat cafe in 2005. Today Eddie’s son, David, and his wife, Brandy, own three locations in Baltimore and beyond. Although they’ve grown, their family-friendly mission remains the same, and their southern-inspired food continues to draw large crowds.

13 of 17

The Food Market

Located in: Hampden
Chef Chad Gauss, his wife, and front-of-house veteran Elan Kotz opened The Food Market in 2012, and it quickly became a Hampden hot spot. The style of the dishes are fine American dining, which includes a melting pot of dishes that range from street tacos to chicken pot pie. *photo credit Daniel McGarrity

14 of 17

Woodberry Kitchen

Located in: Clipper Mill/Woodberry
Started by husband and wife team Spike and Amy Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen relies on the longstanding relationships with the growers of the Chesapeake region to provide the ingredients that nourish and delight its guests. In 2015, Spike won the James Beard award for best chef Mid-Atlantic.

15 of 17

Land of Kush

Located in: Mount Vernon
Chef Gregory Brown, his wife Naijha Wright started The Land of Kush in 2011 when they found the need for more vegetarian and vegan cuisine options in Baltimore. They put a unique spin on classic dishes such as barbecue ribs and crab cakes that make people say, "You won't believe it's veggie."

16 of 17

Ida B's Table

Located in: Inner Harbor/City Center
Chef David Thomas and his co-owner/wife Tonya named Ida B's Table in honor of the pioneering journalist and activist Ida B. Wells. Their philosophy is "local, organic, fresh," and the restaurant's "modern soul food" nods to African-American heritage and cuisine.

17 of 17

Bluebird Cocktail Room

Located in: Hampden
Paul Benkert and wife Caroline are owners of the Bluebird Cocktail Room, one of the best bars in Hampden. The bar is named after a Charles Bukowski poem, and its literary-inspired drinks are carefully crafted.