Food & Drink

Baltimore Has Become a Boomtown for Bakeries

From Fells Point to Hamilton, local bakeshops are relocating to bigger spaces or opening new outposts to sate sweet tooths and bread cravings.
Ovenbird's new East Baltimore space, which is 10 times larger than its Little Italy flagship. —Photography by Scott Suchman

Hard to say whether it’s the aftermath of the pandemic or just Baltimore’s need to carbo-load, but lately Baltimore is a boomtown for bakeries.

From Fells Point to Hamilton, local bakeries are relocating to bigger spaces or opening second or even third spots to sate sweet tooths and bread cravings.

Maillard Pastries recently opened a second location in Hamilton, Sacré Sucré moved to a larger space in historic Fells Point, and Roggenart Bakery debuted a fifth location in Mt. Vernon. And then there’s Ovenbird Bakery, which went from a tiny spot in Little Italy to debuting a space in East Baltimore that’s 10 times larger than the original.

“When we opened in 2020, we were more of a community neighborhood bakery, but the concept keeps being re-imagined as we try to keep up with the enthusiasm from customers,” says Keiller Kyle, Ovenbird’s owner. “We’ve created a hub of baking and retail that’s now more of a café.”

These days, the baker estimates his Highlandtown kitchen produces some 200 to 300 loaves a day, including focaccias, baguettes, and sourdough, plus 250 or so bagels for both the Highlandtown and Little Italy locations.

Kyle, a former bird biologist who got into baking as a sideline in 2016, sees himself fitting into the continuum of Baltimore bakers who did things the traditional way, making bread with natural starters and shaping loaves by hand.

“There’s a heritage here that carries over,” he says. “In Baltimore there are Greek, German, Italian, and Jewish bakeries. We are not necessarily anchored in any one baking heritage, so we make challah on Fridays, while also shaping darker rye breads from the German heritage. We’re also drawing on the Turkish baking heritage in our pastries. We celebrate all these traditions since we are a reflection of the city in which we are baking.”