Baltimore’s Shoo-Fly Diner[classic article]

Baltimore’s newly opened Shoo-Fly Diner — owned by Spike and Amy Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen fame — is sure to be a popular addition to the dining scene, especially as it will be open later at night. The menu is a mix of diner favorites with Southern classics, small plates and locally sourced ingredients.

We sat at the diner counter downstairs — there’s also an elevator — where there’s exposed brick on the walls. Americana music plays in the background.

I started with a very delicious, adult milkshake, rich and not burning with alcohol.

Baltimore’s Shoo-Fly Diner

Fried oysters were tender, with a light breading — not the crunchy kind — served with a tangy golden ranch dressing. All sauces except for mustard are made in-house. “Snake Oil” is made with Maryland fish peppers, kind of a chipotle flavor.


There were some misfires to the meal. The plate of chicken feet — as pictured in the slideshow — had virtually no meat at all on them. I’ve ordered chicken feet many times at dim sum, for example, so I know they are supposed to have some amount of juicy meat. There were only two feet on the plate . . . they were so bony, they should have been rejected when the purveyor came to the door and if not then, certainly the chef should have tossed them or added some at the pass. When the server asked what we thought of them and we were frank about what we thought, it didn’t go anywhere. The feet weren’t exchanged or taken off the bill. I then felt like the Sprint commercial “Jenna’s Facebook Status,” where Malcolm McDowell tells James Earl Jones, “Greg has sent you a friend request,” and James Earl Jones just stands there, sadly.

Biscuits aren’t included with dinner service, you have to

pay extra for a biscuit with preserves. Unfortunately, their biscuit was very, very tough and not really thoroughly cooked. It was served cold. I know the grape preserves are made by Woodberry Kitchen, but they mainly had the flavor of obscure red fruit and sugar/pectin. They didn’t sing “grape” to me.

The house-made scrapple was a little livery, a little loose in texture.

They have a good drink special: “Shift Change”.

It’s beer and a shot of smooth Pikesville rye for $10.

The fried chicken dinner was a fun presentation, including more chicken feet. The chicken pieces were on the small side. It was very juicy, well-brined. The cornbread served with it was quite overdone, however.

The cabbage with pork was very buttery and full of tender meat, if a touch salty.

The hash browns were a sizable, round and crisp potato cake.

The mac and cheese was a combination of different cheeses, giving it a unique flavor profile. It was nice and rich, with a crusty top.

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