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The Greyhound

Must-go-to restaurants

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have to agree with Shaw on this one. Let’s face it; there’s nothing more joyful than experiencing seriously good food. Lucky for us Greyhounds, we have the opportunity to indulge in culinary delights on a regular basis. Baltimoreis a hub for really good (and also really bad) restaurants. As far as cuisine goes in this city, it’s essentially hit or miss. I’m here to tell you about the hits.

There are many delicious restaurants in the area, all specializing in different styles, themes, tastes and environmental appeal. One such restaurant is The Owl Bar, located in downtown Baltimore and attached to the Belvedere Hotel. When first walking through the old-fashioned lobby of the Belvedere, the exquisite marble pillars, beautiful chandelier, and rustic Oriental rug lying in the center of the foyer wouldn’t suggest that a casual bar would be associated with the hotel. However, through this foyer lies The Owl Bar; if it were not for a small chalkboard directing visitors where to go, the entrance would be almost unrecognizable.

This humble bistro is unique because of its historical ties. During prohibition, the bar acted as a speakeasy, illegally serving alcohol to thirsty customers. The bar has a certain atmosphere, with its dim lighting, dark, glossy cherry wood tables and chairs, and three large stained glass windows decorating the wall behind the bar. The words, “A wise old owl sat on an oak,” are encrypted in the first window, “The more he saw the less he spoke,” on the second, and lastly, on the third, “The less he spoke the more he heard…” In order for patrons to drink during the prohibition, they would have to know the fourth part of the encoded message, which of course was not written anywhere in the bar.

The types of people who venture into The Owl Bar are either longtime regulars or curious crowds who read about the restaurant in articles such as this and decide to give it a whirl. When you venture into The Owl Bar, no matter who you are, you will find yourself faced with several comfort food options for brunch, lunch, or dinner. For example, favorites include a buttermilk-fried chicken sandwich, egg-white frittata, creamy crab dib, or ham and brie pizza (note: the bar is best known for its savory pizzas.) Along with this, The Owl Bar offers a variety of drinks (obviously: it’s a bar) including their original beer brands, Owl Pale Ale and Owl Lager. This is one you’ll need to try for yourself.

While The Owl Bar reflects an old and relaxing vibe, The Food Market in Hampden offers more of an eccentric and contemporary feel. While the styles of these two restaurants differ drastically, the food offered at both establishments is equally satisfying. If you venture down Falls Road and then to West 36th Street, you will find The Food Market tucked away in a strip of quaint boutiques and other eateries.

The Food Market is almost always buzzing with excitement. It’s a little noisy and a little crowded, but what would you expect from a highly praised restaurant? People certainly flock to it on a regular basis. Small, dark, wooden tables (on which sit tiny, colorful flower arrangements and funky glassware) and stylish metal chairs line the walls, with a large bar on one side of the restaurant and a hot, bustling kitchen on the other. Although The Food Market doesn’t have any historical ties to boast, it does offer delicious and fun cuisine.

Customers can choose from a variety of brunch, dinner, and drink delicacies at the restaurant. These include turkey sausage tacos, French toast topped with Nutella, or my personal favorite, the crab benedict. Not to mention the “G-Rated” (iced coffee with a splash of chocolate syrup) and “R-Rated” (a blueberry muffin breakfast shot) drinks. If you’re interested in ordering dinner at The Food Market, you can indulge in fried oysters, beef short ribs, a warm lobster roll, and many other treats.

What’s interesting about The Food Market is that it has made its meals even more available with its introduction of The Food Truck. This is a food catering service, in which chef Chad Gauss (along with any necessary servers and bartenders) will bring culinary creations to you, literally cooking them on their truck. This cool, unique option allows customers to choose their own menu. The Food Market seems to be simply irresistible, especially when paired with this handy catering service.

At this point, I know what some of you may be thinking: you don’t have the time or money to indulge in these eateries. It’s true that some of us would rather take the convenient and financially safe route of simply venturing to the standard Chipotle, Roland Park Bagel, and Miss Shirley’s every week. Don’t get me wrong, I love my burritos, breakfast sandwiches and decadent monkey bread just as much as the next person. However, it’s nice to expand one’s horizons every so often. My advice to you is to save up a little extra cash and venture someplace new because trust me, you won’t regret it. Besides—just think about the glorious Instagram potential that could come out of a visit to The Owl Bar or The Food Market.

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Must-go-to restaurants