I was surprised to see the shop in this picture. I didn’t think small, neighborhood butcher shops still existed.
I lived in Baltimore for four years in the mid-1980s—it was not by choice. Baltimore never felt like home; it was never comfortable for me. Despite that, Baltimore introduced me to a couple of things that have stuck with me since.
I lived near the harbor, not far from Charles Street, which was undergoing a revival at the time. Walking around to get acquainted with the neighborhood, I came across Steve’s Market (if I remember correctly), a small grocery store that sold freshly baked baguettes. Prior to Steve’s, I liked bread–since Steve’s, I have been hooked on it. Eventually, I discovered Cross Street Market and its collection of independent vendors. There was a seafood shop with a wide selection of fish and other seafood–especially huge sea scallops, which were a thing for me at the time. The bakery got me and my wife hooked on Italian loaves (fresh daily), and finally, there was a butcher shop. Not just a place that sold meat, but a real butcher shop—something I had never experienced.
After living with the limited offerings and availability of the local DC supermarkets before moving to Baltimore, I found being able to order meat cut to my specifications liberating. A crown roast for the holidays was not a problem. Lamb chops? Always available. Want a goose and not a duck? Just pick one. Three-quarter inch aged T-Bone steak? How many? I LOVED Cross Street Market.
Atlanta has a few large markets that come close to Cross Street Market, such as Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. Each carries a broad selection of vegetables, poultry, seafood, and meats. The fish can be ordered to one’s specifications, as can certain cuts of meat. Although they lack the intimacy of Cross Street and Steve’s, I am very grateful to have them. Before Baltimore, I never really gave much thought to such luxuries.
It’s unlikely I will visit Baltimore again (at least not anytime soon). But, I appreciate the memories.