No matter what you call them; food halls, markets, collectives, this new trend in “communal dining” is definitely the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry. Each year, more and more of these unique and wonderful establishments pop up in Baltimore City. What makes this concept so special and what are our favorite parts of each? Let’s find out!
The food hall style environment provides patrons of all ages, backgrounds, and income, a place to congregate and explore tastes both local and international. These culinary hubs quickly become the cultural anchors of whatever community they’re in, helping to boost property values, tourism dollars and neighborhood popularity.
“I wish we had this in my neighborhood”
So, why are these so popular? What makes them different from “normal” restaurants, and why do they add intrinsic value to a neighborhood? The answer is simple. These spaces are much more than where you can go to get a quick bite. They’re business networking hubs, a place to launch your political campaign, a board room out of the office, or a quick culinary tour around the world. Whatever they are, they’re convenient.
Mount Vernon Marketplace offers the finest, freshly prepared artisanal foods right here in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon district. With over 14 purveyors offering everything from gourmet cheese, artisan sandwiches & charcuterie, fresh local oysters & seafood, noodles & dumplings, french crepes, Ethiopian cuisine & coffee, vegetarian bean burgers, vegan soups & falafel, cold-pressed juices & salad bar, Korean style bibimbap, homemade bread, ice-cream, cookie’s and cupcakes, artisanal burgers & worldly poutine, wine tasting, craft beer, boozy milkshakes, exotic herbs, spices and culinary kitchen delights. Visit us at 520 Park Avenue Baltimore, MD 21201.
We sat down with Will Glass, the owner of Taps Fill Station, a very popular resident of the Mount Vernon Marketplace…although he prefers to call it a food hall. We asked him what makes this particular spot so special. Will passionately spoke about how the Mount Vernon Marketplace brings people together. “People always say, ‘I wish we had this in my neighborhood.'” Granted, that’s usually said by county dwellers making their regular trip into the city, none-the-less, people want to experience this. Will mentioned the proximity to Mt. Vernon attractions like The Walters Art Museum, which is less than a block away, and The Peabody Music Conservatory, the nation’s oldest. Will says that just like people walking around a museum, patrons will canvas the food hall trying to take in all of the different cultures represented in one place. He’ll see the same face making their third or fourth lap still trying to decide where to eat. It’s almost like they’re looking at different exhibits…but they’re not. They’re soaking in the experience. That’s what they’re selling. The experience.
The more we thought about it, his answers really could be used to describe this entire dining culture. People love eating in these markets because they become part of the community. With long, wide tables that look more like something you’d find in an episode of Game of Thrones than at a chain restaurant, different groups of people are able to have a shared experience enjoying all of the sites and sounds that makes Baltimore so special. Picture your Thanksgiving table filled with 12 or 13 people. That’s kind of what this is, only you get to share a meal with people you may actually like…strangers. The general consensus at all of these markets is that people find the shared dining experience unique and quite charming. Charm City anyone!?
Mt Vernon Marketplace-http://mtvernonmarketplace.com/
Mount Vernon Marketplace offers the finest, freshly prepared artisanal foods right here in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon district. With over 14 purveyors offering everything from gourmet cheese, artisan sandwiches & charcuterie, fresh local oysters & seafood, noodles & dumplings, French crepes, Ethiopian cuisine & coffee, vegetarian bean burgers, vegan soups & falafel, cold-pressed juices & salad bar, Korean style bibimbap, homemade bread, ice-cream, cookie’s and cupcakes, artisanal burgers & worldly poutine, wine tasting, craft beer, boozy milkshakes, exotic herbs, spices and culinary kitchen delights. Visit us at 520 Park Avenue Baltimore, MD 21201.
What We Love: Walkability. Mount Vernon is amazing to walk around no matter what time of year. Check out all of the history and culture this city has to offer, then swing by and grab something to eat. It’s all right here.
As North Baltimore’s central gathering spot, Belvedere Square is at the crossroads of it all. Located at the southeast corner of York Road and Northern Parkway, Belvedere Square offers a dynamic mix of retail shopping, dining, and convenient service options. In all, we feature more than 110,000 square feet of fashion apparel, fresh flowers, home furnishings & designs, restaurants and everyday services – and a fresh market that’s second to none
What We Love: The hustle. With its fast pace, it really reminds you that you’re in a city. We love that.
Lexington Market is Baltimore’s best place for food. Whatever you like to eat, we’ve got something for you. Lexington Market has more than 100 vendors, offering everything from world famous crab cakes to fried chicken, authentic Indian delicacies to corned beef, fresh seafood to verdant produce. In our iconic building, you can get a snack, buy some groceries, or sit down for a memorable meal. But Lexington is a great place to visit for any reason, with over 230 years of history and atmosphere to feed curious minds. It’s easy to get to Lexington Market by road, sidewalk, or rail. So come see us, whether this is your first time or your hundredth time. Lexington Market has something delicious for everyone.
What We Love: Notoriety. Lexington Market has been featured many times on the Food Network.
UNION Collective is a curated assembly of independently-owned, growing, Baltimore-based manufacturing & creative businesses set under one roof and anchored by Baltimore’s favorite beer-makers – UNION Craft Brewing Co. UNION Collective will be a home for local makers to produce and sell their wares, share resources, collaborate and join UNION Craft’s ever-growing community of locally-minded consumers.
What We Love: Backstage passes. The Charmery and Union Craft Brewing offer behind-the-scenes tours of their production processes. Ask nicely and you may get a free sample.
Located in the heart of historic Fells Point, Broadway Market has been a Landmark for Baltimore’s Fells Point Neighborhood and the surrounding communities for over 200 years. The new plan calls for 10 vendor stalls that will create an exciting and diverse mix of offerings in the new market, including current Broadway Market favorites.
What We Love: The view. Enjoy lunch on Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor while pondering how terrible it must have been to travel these cobblestone streets in horse and buggy.
R. House is home to ten chefs who believed that coming together to launch their restaurants was better than going it alone. Their kitchens surround a 350-seat food hall with roll-up garage doors, booths, communal tables, and a neighborhood bar at the center of it all. This is your living room, your kitchen, your office, your hangout spot, your Baltimore stoop, your happy place. It’s R. House.
What We Love: The nightlife. 1.) It has a killer bar. 2) It has an awesome bar. 3) There is a place, right as soon as you walk in, that serves lots of drinks.