Miss Shirley’s Cafe is a locally owned restaurant that serves award-winning food. With locations in Roland Park, downtown Baltimore & Annapolis, you can’t go wrong.
This is a sponsored post. We were hosted for a complimentary visit, but the opinions are mine alone.
Every July I go to Maryland to visit family and friends for a couple of weeks. I end up doing work almost every day, but I make sure to also take advantage of the time to relax/recharge. Because once I get back to Oklahoma, I hit the ground running to get ready for football season.
My parents and I had the opportunity to visit Miss Shirley’s Cafe while I was in town. Miss Shirley’s Cafe has 3 locations in Maryland, and we visited the flagship restaurant in Roland Park.
Roland Park is the first planned “suburbs” community in the US. Located north of downtown Baltimore, Roland Park is a beautiful community of homes and schools, plus dining and shopping. This was our first visit to Roland Park, but it definitely won’t be my last. I love the quaint downtown, and the beautiful architecture and history of the area.
The Dopkin family has been in the restaurant industry for decades; they began with The Beef Inn in Pikesville in 1970. They later opened The Classic Catering People; it is still going strong today, and is the official caterer of the Baltimore Ravens. Eddie Dopkin grew up working with his parents in their restaurants. He opened his first solo venture, Loco Hombre, to bring a more diverse culinary culture to Roland Park. He followed that up in 2005 with Miss Shirley’s Cafe.
Eddie named Miss Shirley’s Cafe in memory of Shirley McDowell, who worked for his parents for over 30 years. Miss Shirley McDowell passed away in 2001, but her legacy lives on through the restaurant. Miss Shirley’s Cafe outgrew its first space, and moved across the street to its current location. In 2008, they opened a second location in downtown Baltimore, on the first floor of a high-rise office building. In 2011, the Annapolis location opened, about a mile from the Naval Academy. Eddie passed away in 2013, and his son David assumed ownership.
One of the most important people in any restaurant is the Corporate Executive Chef. Brigitte Bledsoe holds that honor at Miss Shirley’s Cafe, and has been with the restaurant since it opened. She had answered an ad for the “Best Breakfast Chef in the World”, and during her interview with Eddie she prepared several of the dishes that are still on the menu today. Miss Shirley’s Cafe was named Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant in 2015, and Brigitte was named Restaurant Chef of the Year in 2017 by the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe has won many awards over the years. The restaurant was featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives in 2016, and will be featured on The Travel Channel’s Food Paradise in 2018.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe is in the heart of downtown Roland Park. We found street parking directly in front, and there is also a parking lot in the back. The first thing you notice is the bold orange colors. There are several patio tables out front, along the length of the building.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe is a warm and inviting restaurant, with a host stand just inside the main door and the main dining room behind it. Immediately to the left of the host stand is an open doorway to a waiting area and the East Room, a small dining space that seats about 25. Upstairs is a terrace that seats 40-50, used as a semi-private dining space and overflow dining space as needed. To the right of the main dining room is the Rock Room, a private function space that seats about 80.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe does not accept reservations, and so of course there can be a wait on weekends. We arrived right at the start of lunch so we sat almost immediately. By the time we left, there were guests waiting to sit. Miss Shirley’s Cafe offers online ordering, and also participates in the OrderUp delivery service to Baltimore and Roland Park.
Breakfast all day makes Miss Shirley’s Cafe stand out from many restaurants in the area. The restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, and has no plans to open for dinner. Many of their employees have been on staff since the beginning, and part of the reason is because they can be home in the evenings with their families.
The Miss Shirley’s Cafe menu is huge, and includes morning cocktails, appetizers, sides, house favorites, omelets, pancakes, soups & salads, sandwiches, and lunch combos.
Our server, Kayla, greeted us immediately, and asked if anyone has any food allergies. Being an allergy-conscious restaurant is near and dear to the heart of Miss Shirley’s Cafe. They participate in the Food Allergy Walk every year, with a walk team and a booth. Miss Shirley’s Cafe is also a peanut-free restaurant.
I don’t do well with large menus, so I have to admit this one is overwhelming. It was way too much to absorb all at once, so we began with appetizers. I selected the fried green tomatoes, served with a lemon-herb aoli
The tomatoes are delicious. I really like the cornmeal crust, as it adds a wonderful crunch and tones down the bite of the tart tomatoes. The light and flavorful sauce on top provides a very nice creaminess to the tomatoes.
I wasn’t planning to drink, but when I saw the fun presentation of the strawberry mojito, I had to order one
I’m a texture eater, so I was a little concerned about the chunks of strawberry in the drink. However, they added a lot of flavor to the drink, and I really like the combination of strawberry and mint.
My mom wanted another appetizer, and she couldn’t decide between cornbread and biscuits. Kayla likes both, but recommended the cornbread squares
Kayla was right…the cornbread is absolutely outstanding. The cornbread has whole kernels of corn mixed throughout, a unique and delicious twist. Cornbread can often be very dense, but this one is light and airy. I love the golden crust and the light herb seasoning on top. The cornbread comes with house-made peppadew-jalapeno butter. I usually always add butter to my cornbread, to cut the density. I really liked the butter, and the kick from the jalapenos, but I only used a little bit for one bite of the cornbread and ate the rest plain.
The Miss Shirley’s Cafe menu includes a nice variety of vegetarian options, and Kayla did a great job of explaining each of them thoroughly. My dad got the Park Place Powerhouse. All sandwiches come with a side, and my dad chose the quinoa salad
Sometimes veggie sandwiches can be very bland, but the Park Place Powerhouse has lots of flavor. Quinoa by itself isn’t very exciting, so I like that they mix the quinoa with a variety of vegetables to add contrast in texture and flavor.
My mom got the Bay-o Po Boy. You can choose from crabcakes or soft shell crab, and my mom got the crabcakes. For her side, she chose the mixed greens.
Wow, this po boy is so good. Large lump crabmeat, and lightly crusted crabcakes. The remoulade has a bold flavor, with just a slight kick from the Old Bay. The sandwich is really large, and my mom took half home for dinner. She doesn’t typically care for cold food, but she ate it cold for dinner that night and said it was just as good.
No surprise, but I couldn’t decide what to get. Kayla gave me a few recommendations, and the GM came over and gave me a few options as well. I finally decided on Ansela’s Signature Sliders.
The pork was a little dry for my tastes, and I couldn’t really taste the BBQ sauce. However, the pork does have a very good flavor and the lightly dressed cole slaw pulled the slider together. The chicken is very tender and juicy, and scorching hot. The light breading adds a delicious crunch to the chicken.
The crabcake is fabulous. Miss Shirley’s Cafe uses blue crab. When available, they use Maryland crabs; otherwise, they use blue crabs from Virginia and North Carolina. The crabcakes have big chunks of creamy lump crab and very little filler, just how I like them.
I ate the pork slider with the bun; the crabcake and chicken, I ate by themselves. I did hash browns as my side dish. They are delicious, but I only ate a few bites so I could finish the rest of my food.
My mom doesn’t rave about food at restaurants very often, but she raved about everything we had. As a matter of fact, she is already planning her return trip with friends. Everything was delicious, the service was first-rate, and Jen gave us an awesome gift pack!
I definitely need to make Miss Shirley’s Cafe an annual trip when I’m in Maryland. It’s going to take me forever to make it through the whole menu, so I may need to go twice each time.