Rooster & Hen has re-opened at the renovated Cross Street Market in Federal Hill after closing doors at its original Catonsville location in September.
What began in 2016 as a small food market specializing in locally-sourced, organic produce now has 1,800 square feet of space just inside the market’s entrance on Light Street, according to a news release. The store announced its soft launch on New Year’s Eve.
The new Rooster & Hen features a full kitchen and space to host food pop-ups and workshops. Allison Smith and her husband Joe McRedmond, who own the shop together, will continue to sell organic produce and flower arrangements. The store has expanded retail space and higher inventory volume — 10 times what they had at the Frederick Road location, Smith said.
The market-within-a-market will also sell conventional produce that one would find in any grocery store, but at prices are comparable to an average grocery store.
“This is a mixed-economic neighborhood,” Smith said. “Our mantra is that we do not want to create any barriers whatsoever for being able to cook at home and eat healthy.”
Smith said the couple originally started their business because organic produce was only available four days a week at the Catonsville Farmer’s Market, where she and McRedmond used to vend.
In Federal Hill, “it’s actually the opposite,” Smith said.
With a number of farmer’s markets — one just outside the Cross Street Market starting in May — there’s no lack of places to buy organic fruits and vegetables in south Baltimore. But there are few, if any, walkable grocery stores offering affordable produce, Smith said.
“I believe that everybody’s neighborhood should have a small grocery store that you can walk to,” the Oella resident said.
Smith said they will no longer be hosting live music performances as they did in Catonsville, but she will now get a chance to cook and sell her own grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and soups, once she and McRedmond settle in.
The rustic market, inspired by Maryland farms, will continue to host workshops and cooking classes, which will be posted to the Rooster & Hen Facebook page, Smith said.
Rooster & Hen is a newcomer among prior Cross Street tenants Steve’s Lunch, the Sweet Shoppe and Fenwick’s Choice Meats, and will join many other new tenants including Phubs, a Vietnamese soup and sandwich shop; Haitian restaurant Sobeachy; soup and sandwich shop Annoula’s Kitchen; Cans Filling Station, a craft beer bar and package store; Ceremony Coffee; vegan takeout shop Gangster Vegan and the regionally-sourced Old Line Cocktail & Wine Bar.
Rooster & Hen is the 17th tenant to open at Cross Street Market since in May 2019 said market manager Candice Coolahan. Heavy renovations essentially saw the 1950s-era structure torn down to its barest bones and rebuilt with a more contemporary style that harkens back to the time it was built.
Four other tenants have yet to be announced, and two other stalls are available for lease by vendors, Coolahan said.
“From day one, it’s been our intent to preserve the true ‘market’ component of Cross Street Market, and we were committed to achieving that,” Arsh Mirmiran, a partner at Towson-based real estate development firm Caves Valley Partners, said in a statement.
Cave Valley partnered with real estate agency CANAdev to redevelop the 31,800-square foot building.
“Now, guests can pick up their produce and raw ingredients from Rooster & Hen, a selection of fine meats at Fenwick’s and, soon, Baltimore’s best and freshest seafood from Atlas Restaurant Group’s new fish market,” Mirmiran said.
Rooster & Hen will be open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but hours could be subject to change, Smith said.
Smith said she and her husband miss their Catonsville regulars, and hopes they make the 20-minute trip to the new location. “In our hearts, it was a really special place and very difficult to let go of,” she said of their Frederick Road spot. “It was like our home.”
In Federal Hill, “my impression has been super, super positive,” Smith said. Federal Hill residents “are in love with their neighborhood, and they support local businesses. … The need is evident and that’s what we keep hearing over and over again—'we really need a place like this.’”