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The Short Version: Miss Shirley’s Café is an award-winning breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. The restaurant’s seasonal menu features fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay region, as well as Southern-inspired omelets, sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, and house-made grits with a modern twist. Miss Shirley’s offers a mean morning cocktail, or a stack of fruit-infused griddle cakes depending on your mood. If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable date spot, then head over to Miss Shirley’s to enjoy a classic brunch with a side of jalapeño-smoked bacon.
Restaurateur and Baltimore native Eddie Dopkin comes from a long line of food lovers, producers, and purveyors. His family has owned restaurants and run catering companies since the 1970s, and he always knew he would continue that tradition in his own career.
In 2005, Eddie jumped on an opportunity to open a brunch place called Miss Shirley’s Café on Cold Spring Lane. He thought the area was hungry for a daytime diner, so he placed a classified ad in the newspaper for “the best breakfast chef in the world” to come on board. Chef Brigitte O. Bledsoe thought she was up for the challenge and answered the ad.
Brigitte invited Eddie to her home and cooked him French toast stuffed with coconut cream cheese, and crab cake & fried green tomato eggs Benedict. He took one bite of the meal and was sold. Eddie hired Brigitte on the spot and made her decadent dishes the centerpiece of Miss Shirley’s. Now 14 years later, you can still find Brigitte’s original Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict, and Coconut Cream Stuffed French toast on the menu.
Eddie named his new restaurant after Miss Shirley McDowell, a beloved personal friend and inspirational employee. Though she’d passed away in 2001, Eddie hoped to make her proud and carry on her legacy of fresh cooking and sassy charm in a family-friendly and date-friendly atmosphere.
Miss Shirley’s became so popular that it quickly outgrew the small, 42-seat space in Roland Park and moved across the street to 513 W. Cold Spring Lane in 2006. Today, Miss Shirley’s has two other locations, one in Inner Harbor and one in Annapolis. As Corporate Executive Chef, Brigitte works with the culinary team to manage each location’s kitchen, and ensures the unique brunch menu satisfies customers from all walks of life.
“Brigitte loves Southern cooking and Maryland seafood, and she cleverly incorporates that into our creative breakfast dishes,” said Jen McIllwain, Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Couples looking for a daytime date would be impressed with the menu selections and customer service at Miss Shirley’s Cafe. The restaurant is always full of people who brave the long lines because they love the food and service here. The award-winning breakfast menu has turned many heads with its home-style cooking and seafood flavors.
Miss Shirley’s even had celebrity chef Guy Fieri intrigued. “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” featured Miss Shirley’s in an episode that aired in January 2016. Brigitte made her signature Coconut Cream French toast to show a national audience what this Baltimore breakfast joint is all about.
From its Mornin’ Cocktails to its House Favorites, Miss Shirley’s menu brings a lot of wow factor to the breakfast table. Its Born on the Bay-O Bloody Mary is garnished with a skewer of blackened shrimp and pickled okra. If you’re feeling wild, you can add two crispy pieces of jalapeño-smoked bacon into the mix.
The brunch menu has many unique items to wake up the taste buds. You can try the BBQ Chicken Fried Deviled Eggs to spice up your day, or you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a plate of strawberry lemonade mini baked donuts made fresh in house. You can also create your own three-egg omelet packed with all the veggies, cheeses, meats, and seafood you want.
The Griddle Cakes section features mini waffles, buttermilk pancakes, and other specialty dessert-like treats. You can add a scoop of ice cream or house-made whipped cream and strawberries to any of the above.
The Fried Green Tomatoes would be a good appetizer for couples to share, or they could save room for Funky Monkey Bread or an Orange Creamsicle Float for dessert. These fun dishes are made with a memorable twist you won’t find just anywhere. Restaurant Hospitality Magazine named the Southern Slammer Sandwich with its avocado mash, Applewood-smoked bacon, fried green tomato, cheddar and fried egg on pumpernickel bread one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the U.S.
At Miss Shirley’s, people can enjoy a filling cornmeal-encrusted soft shell crab stack or light farm-fresh quinoa bowl. It all depends on your appetite.
Miss Shirley’s is a nut-free establishment, so individuals with nut allergies can rest easy here. The servers actually make a point to ask if anyone at the table has any food allergies, and the kitchen staff takes special care to ensure everyone has plenty of delicious options to enjoy.
The culinary team updates the menu twice a year to keep things fresh and keep regulars coming back to see what’s new. “We always highlight the freshest ingredients,” Jen said. “It just depends on what’s seasonal and trending.”
Over 1,300 people have posted reviews on TripAdvisor about Miss Shirley’s Café, and they’re overwhelmingly positive. The restaurant has an overall 4.5 star rating, and many locals say it’s their go-to brunch place.
“Miss Shirley’s food is amazing. I love going there with family, friends, or a nice date,” said Lucky0317. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone.”
Just_Me_Bernie said Miss Shirley’s is one of his favorite restaurants in Baltimore despite the long wait times. “It’s very relaxing and cozy, yet romantic all at the same time,” the review said. “The food is always freshly prepared, and the servers are very professional and helpful.”
“This restaurant is one of the best restaurant experiences I have ever had,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer from Nevada. “They couldn’t do enough for us when we told them my husband has food allergies. The head chef came out and spoke with us at length and made him one of the best meals he’s ever eaten.”
It’s no wonder Miss Shirley’s has gotten so many rave reviews over the years. The restaurant maintains a warm, welcoming atmosphere, and the leadership team takes pride in helping to make Baltimore a better place to live, work, and eat.
In 2019, the Restaurant Association of Maryland honored Miss Shirley’s with the Cornerstone of the Industry Award. Its Stars of the Industry Awards Gala recognizes the best in the business every year.
“It feels really good to be part of something so well-known and well-loved in the community,” Jen said. “Eddie instilled that philanthropic spirit in all of us. We’re all about giving back to our team members and the community that supports us.”
Miss Shirley’s Café began as Eddie Dopkin’s passion project, and it has gained momentum thanks to Brigitte’s original concoctions and commitment to quality. The culinary team’s inventive menu has made breakfast something to get excited about, and many locals are happy to brave the crowds and wait for the pleasure of dining at Miss Shirley’s.
Even if the french toast stuffed with coconut cream cheese doesn’t win you over, you still have dozens of fresh-made, Southern-inspired, and allergy-friendly options to try. Whether you like your breakfast topped with bacon or whipped cream, you can find something to satisfy you here.
Couples can head to Miss Shirley’s any day of the week to enjoy an unforgettable dining experience. You have the chance to turn up the romance on your afternoon and indulge in a delicious meal at this landmark establishment with 3 locations in Maryland.
“Marylanders love to come here on dates because we offer good food and good service in a comfortable atmosphere,” Jen said. “Sometimes it’s nice to go out during the day and enjoy a date in an upscale yet casual place like Miss Shirley’s.”