African American-Owned Restaurants in Baltimore
Baltimore's Black-owned restaurants and African American chefs are worth a visit.
Baltimore’s culinary scene is known for its diverse influences, including the city’s talented African American chefs and entrepreneurs. Enjoy soul food favorites, vegan dishes, tasty desserts and more at some of the Black-owned restaurants that help forge Charm City’s distinct flavor.
This charming little café in Reservoir Hill started as a passion project for owners Aisha Pew and her partner Cole, who were looking to create a community gathering spot. At Dovecote Café, you’ll find artists serving up locally roasted coffee, activists discussing politics over homey desserts like the upside-down peach cake and foodies indulging in grown-up grilled cheese and spinach pie.
Terra Café takes great pride in cooked-from-scratch meals made on the premises and carefully selects the best and finest ingredients. Plus, the menu is as eclectic as the community they serve, featuring everything from jerk chicken and cream of crab soup, to Belgian waffles and paninis.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Kimberly and Edward Ellis, this beloved Black-owned Pigtown eatery has a casual, neighborhood vibe, with food so tasty you’ll wish you were a local. Breaking Bread’s specialties include finger-licking sticky chicken wings and made-to-order burgers.
There’s no shortage of fresh food at Fishnet, located in Mount Vernon Marketplace. Owners Ferhat and Keyia Yalcin are committed to keeping things simple and local, sourcing fresh ingredients like bread and produce directly from Maryland. They don’t cut corners either, using every part of the fish to produce deep, natural flavors straight from the sea.
Green House Juice Cafe
Ayoluwa Hogans opened Green House Juice Cafe in 2012 with the desire for quality and tasty vegan food. Her all-vegan menu features fish filet, barbecue ribs, macaroni salad and more. And, of course, Green House’s specialty is the fresh-pressed juices and smoothies.
Serenity Wine Bar
As Baltimore’s only self-serve wine bar, Serenity is the go-to spot for all things red, white and rosé. In Locust Point, they also serve a selection of dishes such as pizza, wings and desserts that are sure to pair perfectly with your drink of choice.
Water for Chocolate
This comfort food favorite has been loved by locals for years and has even gained fame with the likes of Queen Latifah. The Upper Fell’s Point restaurant opened in 2006 and expanded in 2019 to make room for more diners. Expect dishes like barbecue shrimp and grits, raisin bread French toast and stuffed breakfast burritos.
Connie’s Chicken & Waffles
Connie’s Chicken & Waffles has been serving the Southern-style favorite inside the historic Lexington Market for years, and now they have a few more locations across the city. Here you’ll find the highest-quality chicken paired with just about every type of waffle you can imagine—from classic buttermilk to cinnamon, red velvet, Oreo and more.
Royal Sauce Food Truck
While the savory melts and smashburgers coming out of Malik Robertson and April Bebel’s food truck would be swoon-worthy in their own right, it’s the duo’s selection of sauces that really set them apart. Pick from variety of flavor profiles including roasted garlic aioli, blackberry chipotle, mango tango, honey bourbon barbecue, maple butter mustard and their signature Royal Sauce. While a formal rotation is still in the works, you can track the truck’s movements on Instagram.
Land of Kush
Land of Kush serves vegan and vegetarian soul food so savory that you’ll forget it’s also healthy. Everything on the menu is vegetarian-friendly but tastes like the real deal, from the crab cakes and BBQ ribs to the curry chicken and sweet potato cake.
Next Phaze Café
Located in downtown Baltimore, Next Phaze Café puts a Charm City twist on the Southern dining experience for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Try the crab cakes, baby back BBQ ribs, catfish fritters, collard greens, buttery cornbread and extra cheesy mac and cheese.
The Avenue Bakery
Since 2011, The Avenue Bakery has brought owner James Hamlin’s family recipes to his childhood neighborhood along Pennsylvania Avenue. Stop in for the signature “Poppay’s Roll,” an enormous buttery bun so good you won’t be able to stop at just one. You can also pick from a selection of cookies, sweet breads, decorated cakes and pastries. After placing your order, learn about the history of African Americans in Baltimore from plaques and photos hanging on the walls, and check out the murals outside the bakery.
Berries by Quicha
LaQuicha Brown, owner of Berries by Quicha, opened her second location in Federal Hill in 2017 after great success at her first location in East Baltimore. Her gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries are irresistible with flavors like bacon, vodka-infused and cheesecake-stuffed.
Cloudy Donuts, a Black-owned vegan doughnut shop with locations in Lauraville and Federal Hill, operates with the goal of transcending stereotypes about vegan diets and provide cleaner food alternatives to communities of color. Their selection changes seasonally, but recent delicacies have included brown butter chocolate chip, chai sugar, blood orange and mango chili lime. This 2021 Best of Baltimore winner sells out quickly on weekends, so we recommend getting your donut fix on a weekday.
Send your taste buds on a trip with a scoop from Cajou Creamery! Wife and husband duo Nicole Foster and Dwight Campbell bring bold, bright flavors to their plant-based ice cream made from cashew, almond and hazelnut milks. Cajou offers a range of flavors—horchata, baklava, sweet potato, kulfi—inspired by the couple’s global travels.
Charm City Chocolate
Todd and Michelle Zimmerman learned to create confections at a chocolate shop in South Carolina before starting their own operation in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. They put love into each batch of their handcrafted artisan chocolates, including their delectable chocolate-covered cherries and fun, local flavors like Old Bay chocolate with peanuts.
Aunt Kelly's Cookies
Growing up in Baltimore, Kelly Simmons spent any spare change she had on butter crunch cookies. Eventually, with the help of her grandma, she perfected her own recipe and opened Aunt Kelly’s Cookies to share her love for baking with her hometown. Located on the historic Antique Row of Mount Vernon, this Black-owned business is the only local bakery offering the famous butter crunch cookie, among other flavors, fresh baked daily.
Kora Lee's Gourmet Dessert Café
Owner Kora Polydore makes beautiful cakes, cookies, cupcakes and tarts at Kora Lee’s Dessert Café. If you’re craving something savory, the café serves sandwiches, soups and pot pies for lunch or dinner.