Baltimore is a special kind of food town, with favorites and staples that go beyond our steamed crabs and unwavering loyalty to Old Bay seasoning on anything and everything. You can also get a chicken box smothered in salt and pepper and ketchup, a meaty sandwich piled too high with pit beef, endless Korean options, or indulge in some fancy foodie dishes like beef cheek stew or grilled octopus.
We contain multitudes. And in those multitudes, stories. A plate of food is never just a plate of food. It also evidences generations of experience, clues about cultures and attitudes, the way things change and the way they stay the same. It’s a great way for us to learn about who we are and learn about others, too, while we fill our bellies and hang out and chat over drinks and a fresh plate along the way.
In other words, food has the potential to bring people together like nothing else. We’ve all got to eat, right? And we all tend to like it when the stuff we eat tastes good. This city is one that has always been carved up by sharply defined lines and loyalties for better and for worse. Those lines designated who got to enjoy what and where they can enjoy it. We hope, however, that the “Eat” guide we’ve put together this year encourages you, the reader, to break out of your box and erase those lines, at least a little bit.
Edited by Lisa Snowden-McCray and Rebekah Kirkman. Editorial support by James Callahan, Ja’Von Hill, Akira Kyles, Tramon Lucas, and Sam Shelton. Photographs by E. Brady Robinson and J.M. Giordano. Designed by Athena Towery.