South Baltimore’s Winners of Baltimore Magazine’s ‘Best of Baltimore’

| August 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

photo 4Let’s take a look at all of the South Baltimore businesses and individuals recognized as 2015 winners of Baltimore Magazine’s ‘Best of Baltimore.’ Congrats all around!


Bar Food – 1157 Bar + Kitchen

Micro-restaurants have been trending in 2015, and the Locust Point spot 1157 Bar + Kitchen certainly qualifies. With 10 or so barstools, five two-tops, and a communal table, the place holds 30 people at a time—and doesn’t take reservations. But rest assured, the cramped wait is worth it.

Fries – The Local Fry

All over town, people are getting creative with their fries and there are even multiple places to get poutine. But our favorite spot for spuds is The Local Fry, which opened in Federal Hill in January. When husband-and-wife owners Kevin and Elizabeth Irish lived in Ireland, they noticed a lot of fish-and-chip spots, so they decided to open one in the States where the tasty tubers are the stars, not the side.

Good Deed – Michael Tabrizi

At a time when the Baltimore restaurant industry is still reeling from the riots, Michael Tabrizi, owner of Tabrizi’s, picked purpose over profit. During Baltimore Restaurant Week in July—typically a time when local businesses surge—Tabrizi came up with his own version of the week by reaching out to Charm City’s homeless population.

Bartender – Ryan Sparks at Bookmakers Cocktail Club

Now at Bookmakers, Sparks’s skills really shine with a menu consisting of nearly 20 custom cocktails, a fresh take on 15 classics, a rotating draft cocktail, and house-made ingredients like ghost-pepper tincture and lavender bitters.

Boozy Brunch – Hersh’s

Clear your schedule if you do brunch at Hersh’s. You’ll want to eat everything, so a food coma is inevitable. What could be an ordinary breakfast sandwich excels at Hersh’s with pork belly and sage sausage, mozzarella and provolone, and a sunny-side-up egg on a house-made sesame-seed bagel with a side of light and airy polenta fries.

Happy Hour – Ryleigh’s Oyster

Dive into dollar oysters, including plenty of Chesapeake Bay beauties, and tip back $3 craft drafts, like Flying Dog and Heavy Seas. Just get there early—the place fills up post-work. Like the old saying goes, “The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.”

New Neighborhood Bar – Bar Liquorice

From the outside, the little eat-and-drinkery is unassuming, but inside, you’ll settle into its eclectic interior and sleek, black bar with bold craft cocktails, lots of local beers, and unexpectedly feel-good food. (We don’t mind the gratis popcorn or namesake Twizzlers, either.)

Save – Idle Hour

After The Idle Hour unexpectedly shuttered last winter, it seemed like half of Baltimore suddenly remembered all the great nights that had been spent there sipping one-too-many picklebacks, slugging shots of Chartreuse, and digging on vinyl—and then collectively decided: “Not on our watch.” In a matter of weeks, two fundraisers had together raised over $48,000 to bring the beloved bar back to life.

Conversation Pieces – Second Chance

Salvaged and donated from mansions and historic buildings along the East Coast, a few of these items are so rare they seem like they’d belong in a museum.

Home Furnishings – Home on the Harbor

Karen Graveline opened Home on the Harbor in 2003 to give locals a variety of modern styles, scaled to fit urban spaces. The beautiful showroom has everything from bedroom furniture to dining-room tables.

Eyeglass Repair – The Frame Meder

A screw falls out of your glasses and you’re not screwed. But break the frames, and you’re out $400, right? Think again: This place can actually laser-weld metal frames back together.

Readers’ Poll Winners

Gallery – Crystal Moll Gallery

Burger – Abbey Burger Bistro

Cheap Eats – The Local Fry

Mexican – Blue Agave

Server – Linda Leventis SoBo Café

Thai – Thai Arroy

Bar for the Orioles – Pickles Pub

Bar for the Ravens – Mother’s Grille

Cocktail Menu – Bookmakers Cocktail Club

Outdoor Drinking – Little Havana

Yoga Studio – Charm City Yoga

Auto Repair – Federal Motors

Plumber – Len the Plumber

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.