A few weeks ago I tried two restaurants for the first time that are not only less than 2 miles away from my former museum, but across the street from each other; it is a wonder that somehow I’ve never been in either.
Big Matty’s Diner, at the corner of Lawrence and Fort in Locust Point, opened about a year ago after Rallo’s closed. A wonderful little traditional diner done in retro turquoise and silver, it looks like it came right out of the 50’s. [not really sure why there are no pics; I’ll have to speak sternly to my personal photographer]The menu was exactly what you would expect with nice quality food and reasonable prices. Diane had a lunch combo of a cup of navy bean soup (she reported it was excellent), a house salad and a half sandwich of egg salad (you can choose egg, tuna or chicken salad) while I went with an egg salad sammie on toasted rye and fries with gravy.
In true diner fashion there was a mixture of regulars with folks from surrounding businesses all enjoying a laidback, friendly atmosphere. We even think that we saw Big Matty, judging by the logo, but he was behind the counter so we didn't get verification on that.
I recommend Big Matty’s if you’re ever in the neighborhood.
Caddy cornered across the street on Lawrence Ave, HarborQue was a revelation. I know that sounds corny, but when I walked in, the interior shocked me. Over the years there has been a sub shop, a pizza place and a kabob stand at this location, all with a take away counter , a few tables and a somewhat rickety deck.
The ladies who opened Harborque a few years ago totally redid the interior to create a homey family restaurant.
I had no idea this space could even look that good. Decked out for Halloween at the time, Harborque is decorated with local pictures and is also resplendant with pigs, as all good bbq places should be. It really has the feeling of a South Baltimore neighborhood place,
with plenty of sports stuff (Ravens for fall and winter; Orioles in spring and summer), including Ravens decorations specific to its decor (where do you even find a Ravens painted pig?), dog treats since people in SoBo take their dogs everywhere and coloring books to accomodate all the young families moving into the new townhouses.
Lydia and I met here for lunch before going to the new exhibit on storytelling at AVAM.
After ordering at the counter we opted to eat outside on the much-nicer-than-it-used-to-be deck.
She had the pulled pork sandwich -which pretty much has to be eaten down with a fork before you can pick it up- with moni cheese and hush puppies, while i had the smoked sausage with moni cheese and collard greens.
I've never ordered collard greens before, but everything smelled so good at this place that i decided to be adventurous. They were pretty good and a perfect platform on which to try the four different bbq sauces.
I can not recommend this place highly enough.