With the wide variety of culinary options in Baltimore, Maryland, it is hard to pick out the best. Whether it be delicious seafood, hearty breakfast food, or light appetizers, there are countless restaurants to choose from. However, Miss Shirley’s Café combines all three and more.
Situated along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Miss Shirley’s Café was overflowing with people as my family and I rounded the corner from our hotel onto Pratt Street. Greeted by the aroma of fresh crab, eggs benedict, and warm waffles, my mouth immediately started to water as I envisioned the delicious breakfast that awaited me inside the restaurant. Since my dad frequently travels to Baltimore for work, he had been bragging about Miss Shirley’s for a while, and I was excited to see if the café lived up to his praise.
Walking into the restaurant, my family and I were greeted by a friendly hostess who directed us to our table. The cafe was brightly lit and very colorful; orange and yellow curtains line the windows, framing the view of the harbor. Sunlight beaming in the windows, the restaurant had a very relaxed atmosphere.
Immediately after sitting down, our waitress filled our water glasses and asked us our drink orders.
My dad, Jim Baber, and I both ordered orange juice (which came freshly squeezed), my brother, Alex Baber (St. Christopher’s ‘20), a strawberry lemonade, and my mom, Mary Beth Baber, stuck with just water.The waitress promptly brought back our drinks and asked if we had any questions about the menu. Overwhelmed with the number of options the cafe offered, we asked for a few more minutes before we ordered.
Our waitress returned a few minutes later and informed us that the cafe has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives (the “Family Legacies” episode). Host Guy Fieri loved the Coconut Cream Stuffed French Toast and the Bay-o Po’ Boy. With its thick slices of challah bread garnished with strawberries and bruléed bananas, my brother decided to try out the French Toast (despite not being the biggest fan of coconut). Voted Baltimore’s best breakfast dish three years in a row, my mom ordered the crab cake and fried green tomato eggs benedict. My dad and I decided on omelets, mine a make-your-own and my dad’s “the Bayou.”
Each dish was steaming hot, and we were excited to try everything. As I bit into my make-your-own omelet, I was impressed with the freshness of the ingredients. Complete with white cheddar cheese, maple turkey sausage, and avocado, my omelet was delectable. I gained a newfound appreciation for homemade biscuits, as I took my first bite of the house-made biscuit that came with my omelet. Complete with bits of chili peppers and other bursts of flavor, this biscuit tops Pillsbury any day.
My mom’s eggs benedict was just as the waitress described it, “a delightful combination of smoothness and crunchiness.”
The hollandaise sauce complimented the crispness of the fried green tomatoes, and the lump crab meat was plentiful. My mom loved “how there was so much crab” atop the tomato. She also loved how instead of being a biscuit or English muffin, the green tomato was the “glue” that held her breakfast sandwich together.
Dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar and topped with fresh whipped cream and an orange marshmallow Peep, my brother’s French toast was better than he expected. Alex raved that “the coconut filling was surprisingly good,” and he wishes “Mom knew how to brulée a banana.”
My dad also enjoyed his omelet; featuring blackened shrimp and andouille sausage, “the flavors were incredible,” and it was a great start to his morning.
If you ever find yourself in Baltimore, I would highly recommend eating at Miss Shirley’s Café. Whether you are a pancake or waffle person, or even just a scrambled eggs kinda’ guy/gal, Miss Shirley’s has something for you. Be sure to go on an empty stomach, as the portions are generous, and each item on the menu is home-cooked and delicious.
All photos by Caroline Baber.
Featured image courtesy misshirleys.com.