The Baltimore breakfast sandwich -- please hold the grape jelly

What was a breakfast sandwich in your home town?

Do the default ingredients change when you cross town in Baltimore?

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David and Joanne Cho took over a convenience mart on the unit block of East Preston Street last year. Out of chaos, they made order, and even restored the long-abandoned lunch counter in the back of the store. Their neighbor, a chef named David Ritter, noticed that the Chos were struggling with the Baltimore breakfast and lunch vernacular -- people want what they want, and the lunch counter was just missing.   

Ritter has now left his contractual job with the food service operations at the Maryland Institute and joined the Chos full time, at least until the food counter is established. He has now ended his contract at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and joined the Chos full time,


I have been talking with him about breakfast sandwiches. Ritter is from Queens, where, he says, customers are routinely asked if they want potatoes on their breakfast sandwiches. Ketchup is a given. In some neighborhoods of Baltimore, grape jelly is squirted on a breakfast sandwich even when you don't ask for it.

Ritter wanted to show me what a Queens-style "Greasy Spoon" sandwich looks like -- a buttered, salted, and peppered hard roll* stuffed with bacon, eggs, scrambled eggs, maple sausage, and potatoes. 

Joanne's is selling them for $3.99, at least for now, but you have to ask for one by name -- the "Greasy Spoon"

*don't get Ritter started on the sorry state of hard rolls in Baltimore

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