I love grocery shopping. Absolutely love it. I’m proud to say that I think part of my grocery shopping success — what makes it feel more like a pleasant outing than a chore — is that I don’t subject myself to the giant chains. It’s not hard, since Baltimore is a town with a spectrum of options when it comes to stocking the kitchen, and among the crowd one store stands out: Eddie’s of Roland Park. How, exactly? Well, for generations it has offered the finest meats and produce, fancy foods and one-of-a-kind customer service that families in North Baltimore have come to rely on and cherish.
This Saturday, the Baltimore culinary landmark celebrates 20 years (and three generations) at the Charles Street store with a “Shop Local” anniversary event. The event is meant as a way to say “thank you” to customers old and new, while offering tastings from some of Maryland’s finest food purveyors. This doesn’t just mean tasty samples (though of course, there’ll be plenty). It also means a meet-and-greet with local vendors. As Nancy Cohen, President of Eddie’s (and the daughter of its founder, Victor Cohen) tells us, “We have always prided ourselves on our relationships with local vendors. We like to say that we promoted local products before it was fashionable to do so.” And in terms of selecting local products for its shelves, Eddie’s certainly knows how to pick ‘em. The store has been a dedicated carrier of Zeke’s Coffee (the treasured local roaster currently has Orioles themed coffees available in the stores) as well as of Albert Kirchmayr—a noted local purveyor of top-quality, hand-crafted chocolates. They also carry Vanns Spices—locally bottled herbs, spices and seasoning blends favored by chefs and home cooks across the country. “What makes these vendors special,” says Cohen, “is the care they take in making their products. They use the best ingredients in products that make Baltimore proud. We know our customers like to support local businesses and small businesses, as do we. These vendors are not big corporations, they are small, closely held businesses, just like Eddie’s of Roland Park.”