Exploring Our Favorite Local Spots in Baltimore
In this 8-part series, we are shining a light on small businesses in the cities where we currently operate. With so many communities struggling today, we’re inviting you to join us in standing by local establishments you know and love. Each week we’ll feature a different city, highlighting five gems submitted by our riders and employees, and give away $1,000 worth of gift cards to these spots on our Instagram account.
Week 2: Baltimore
Baltimore. The Charm City. Where Edgar Allen Poe penned The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. Where the hit show The Wire introduced us to iconic characters like Avon Barksdale and Kima Greggs. Where the crab cakes are plentiful, always seasoned with Old Bay, and washed down by locally-brewed National Bohemian. Where you can visit the Inner Harbor and see more than 20,000 birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and marine animals at the National Aquarium, the first public aquarium in the country. Ah, yes, a wonderful city indeed. One with a rich history and an exciting future.
One of America’s most legendary philanthropists and entrepreneurs, Johns Hopkins, a one-time Director of the B&O Railroad (yes, Monopoly fans, that B&O railroad), called Baltimore home. And a tradition of entrepreneurialism, which Hopkins helped ignite over two hundred years ago, remains strong here to this day. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, from January 2019, The Monument City is home to 50,735 small businesses! These businesses need our help and support now more than ever. Thank you so much to our local riders and employees for all your submissions and personal stories. Let’s take a tour!
Greedy Reads: Have you ever wanted to browse best sellers while being lovingly stared at by an adorable labrador-greyhound mix? Then Greedy Reads is the place for you. Owner and operator, Julia Fleischaker, creates a comfortable and homey vibe, aided by visits from her dog Audie, at this local bookstore with locations in Fells Point and Remington. It’s more than just a business, though. Monthly book clubs, interactive bulletin boards, and regular talks from notable authors makes Greedy Reads a hub for culture and community. Penelope M, a Greedy Reads regular and Sci-Fi aficionado, describes this gem as “the perfect place to commune with fellow book lovers.” You can support Greedy Reads by purchasing gift cards from their website.
Photos courtesy of Greedy Reads
Golden West Cafe: This unique cafe has two bars (one for tacos, one for alcohol), hosts regular drag queen bingo nights, and offers a monthly event called Shocktail Hour, presented by Aurora Gorealis, and featuring horror movie screenings and a special fright-inspired food menu. Yes, you heard us right on all three accounts. Tanuj D, a frequent patron, calls it the “best cafe in town” and adds that, “it highlights the inclusive and eclectic Hampton neighborhood.” Whether you’re in the mood for some delectable brunch-time vegan French toast or late-night fully-loaded nachos, Golden West Cafe has you covered. During the shelter-in-place, their full menu is available for curbside pickup or delivery. Visit their website and place your order today.
Photos courtesy of Golden West Cafe
Diamondback Brewing Co: Colin, Tom, and Francis, the co-founders of Diamondback Brewing Co, had been professionally crafting beer since 2014. But it wasn’t until two years later that they found the perfect home, steeped in history, to match their dedication to the craft. Located in a 100-year-old building which over the years has housed famous food companies, such as Coca-Cola and Phillips Seafood, Diamondback Brewing Co features a picturesque taproom with a semi-circular bar surrounding an original smokestack. Cassidy J says, “They transformed a South Baltimore landmark into a welcoming neighborhood hangout spot. You’re guaranteed to find good food, great beer, and truly awesome people.” Check out their website for to-go and delivery food and drink options.
Photos courtesy of Diamondback Brewing Co.
Ceremony Coffee: This artisanal cafe believes that “coffee should be something special.” Their inspiration comes from an awareness of how coffee brings people together in “explicitly human ways.” And their in-house roasting team makes sure that each cup is masterful and full-bodied. Shannon D visited Ceremony recently on a work trip and was especially impressed with the “beautiful light and great espresso.” She noted that it was “the perfect place to spend an hour or two in between meetings.” Support Ceremony by grabbing carry-out drinks at their storefronts, buying items online, or purchasing gift cards.
Photos courtesy of Ceremony Coffee
Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop: Gioacchino Vaccaro, an Italian immigrant, more commonly known as “Mr. Jimmy,” founded this authentic, old-world pastry shop way back in 1956. The locals went wild for the cannolis and the rum cakes, and the rest, as they say, is history. To this day, the shop is family-owned and managed, with Mr. Jimmy’s son, Nick, now running the show. Dan P called Vaccaro’s, “a Baltimore institution.” He added, “For me, it’s synonymous with family. Every family meal always ends the same way — with a trip to Vacarro’s for dessert!” Customers can order carryout, gift cards, and special deliveries from their website.
Photos courtesy of Vaccaro’s
Whether you’re a lover of books, beers, brews, bingo, or baked goods, the businesses above represent people in your local community who pour their heart and soul into their craft to bring you great products, and joy. And now is our chance to reciprocate the love. We’re all in this together, and it’s especially important to have each other’s backs during hard times. Thank you for your support, and be sure to enter our gift card giveaway on Instagram as well.
We’ll see you next week when we land in Los Angeles to spotlight more small businesses.