Drawing inspiration from the recipes of six generations spread across three families, Georgia Soul Food brings a bit of southern cooking to the heart of the Mid-Atlantic. Fried chicken, catfish, and salisbury steak with creamy gravy can all emerge from the kitchen with hearty, rib-sticking side dishes, including candied yams, collard greens, and golden mac n' cheese. While seated at a red and white-checkered table with a slice of coconut cake and a glass of sweet tea, it's easy to imagine yourself transported to the heart of the deep South or the Steel Magnolias craft service table.
Whether seated on a patio overlooking stretches of grass or within a cozy dining room aglow with hanging lights, guests at Donna’s are treated to an array of tasty, upscale American dishes. The menu boasts a selection that changes weekly and may include quinoa and homemade falafel, five-spice ribs, salmon on cold noodles, or homemade tacos. From the expansive wine lists, guests select a glass of dry sparkling prosecco to pair with pizza or calamari or sip a seasonal cocktail such as the pineapple caipirinha. In addition to crafting delicious meals, the team at Donna’s offers cooking classes, during which they bake rustic breads, make pastas by hand, and quiet the melodramatic death throes of Italian vegetables.
Recently featured in the Washington Times, Gertrude's is a salt-stained bastion of coastal cuisine, with a menu chock-full of Chesapeake classics. Chef and owner John Shields, a nationally acclaimed coastal-fare innovator, author, and crab whisperer, named the restaurant for his grandmother, Gertrude Cleary. Grandma Gertrude's traditional Baltimore crab cake recipe lives on at her namesake restaurant with a dinner order of Gertie's crab cakes ($20), which arrives dressed with a choice of eight sauces, including the Creole or three-mustard. It's served with a choice of sides such as apple and fennel coleslaw, hush puppies, or grilled rosemary potatoes. Other maritime entrees, such as the citrus barbecue shrimp ($24) and the Chesapeake rockfish imperial ($30), recognize each other from the Shark Week extras' green room and happily provide diners fishing for Bay fare authenticity with transcendent catches for immediate consumption. Also available are Gertie's seafood Creole ($24) and locally raised beef burgers ($10).
Sandella's upscale flatbread chain is spreading rapidly to form a robust crust of healthy pizza and paninis surrounding the Baltimore region and beyond. The secret of Sandella's proprietary brick-oven flatbread is kept by skilled property managers, who ward off teen detectives' regular attempts to solve the menu's mystery of health and taste fusion. Configure your body's bread-intake valve for a provolone & veggie panini ($4.99), or sneak away from your dust cloud from fighting cartoon characters for a brazilian chicken grilled flatbread ($5.99). This Groupon is not valid for alcohol purchases, but perfectly valid for 100% crushed-fruit smoothies and fountain sodas.
The Franciscan Center's lunch program has served food for more than four decades and is open to all members of the community, with a special focus on those experiencing homelessness, poverty, or mental illness. Partnerships with local farmers markets fortify the center's lunches with seasonal organic vegetables. Hot, protein-infused main courses ensure nutritious balance to sustain clients. The lunch program currently serves 6,000 meals each month.
When 18-year old Casey Jenkins enrolled in the US Marine Corp, his only intention was to serve his country. After spending time as a line cook, however, he began a love affair with the culinary arts. When service ended, he took his skills to the next level by enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America. Over time, he honed his skills and eventually opened Darker Than Blue Cafe, known throughout Baltimore for its pairing of live jazz performances with low-country southern cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients.
The restaurant has garnered praise, voted Baltimore’s Best Soul Food by Voice Places. Diners sip peach-mango tea during all-you-can-eat Sunday jazz brunch, when live music fills the restaurant for a more melodious backdrop than a recording of Harvey Fierstein reading The Grapes of Wrath. They can also bring their own libations to enjoy with dinner, which features classics such as chicken and waffles topped with whipped cream, Cajun shrimp served over salmon cakes, and baby-back ribs.