Miss Shirley’s Cafe

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miss shirley's cafe

Travel is most exciting to me whenever I get to a destination and I can park my car and not go to it again until we are done touring the area. I love not having to utilize my car for the rest of the time because it feels like I really unpacked and am on vacation.

The Inner Harbor allows me this luxury of unpacking one time and then traveling throughout the Inner Harbor for a few days at a time and this is the perfect location to find those perfect dining places. Day by day I explored the Inner Harbor area and today I came upon one of the most exciting finds: a very Allergen friendly dining place.

Miss Shirley’s Café is an award-winning breakfast brunch and lunch location. I can testify to the amount of awesome that is being dished up with every meal served! Lavishly live food and travel out loud as we head to Miss Shirley’s Cafe.

Breakfast, Brunch, and Lunch

Our personal thanks to Miss Shirley’s Cafe for hosting our morning and providing top-notch service! Miss Shirley’s Cafe focuses on breakfast, brunch, and lunch and the earlier you get there the better.

Indulgent spirited beverages, sandwiches, breakfast foods so many Southern specialties are what we found. We did not have to worry about cross-contamination or being turned away because we have someone with severe food allergies. Food is prepared and presented so magnificently that you will think you are in a 5-star restaurant.

The Story

award winning

Miss Shirley’s Cafe was featured on Diners, DRIVE-INS & DIVES “Family Legacies” Episode. The food is everything that you could imagine it to be and more, as this is truly a DESTINATION, not just a place that is in the Inner Harbor.

All meals have a southern tilt to them. Miss Shirley’s Cafes were established in 2005 by Eddie Dopkin. The restaurant was created as a tribute to a personal friend of his mother’s: Miss Shirley McDowell. In fact, Miss Shirley was a food professional and prepared food with love… thus the resulting hashtag we all Miss Shirley Cafe lovers use “#ShirleysLove.”

Miss Shirley's Cafe
Photos are taken in Miss Shirley’s E. Pratt Location

The marriage of creative recipes became solidified when Corporate Executive Chef Brigitte Bledsoe created the recipes into a menu that reflects both McDowell’s southern flare with Chef Bledsoe’s love of fresh Maryland ingredients. (the Spicy Shirley exemplifies this)

Sign at Miss Shirley's Cafe

It is to be noted that the menu does change and it takes months of preparation to present a new menu. Side note: I want on that tasting panel, mmmmmm! Busy? That’s a total understatement because the whole time I was there DURING the week, seats kept emptying and filling up!

Trust me, even if you have to wait a few minutes or 30 do it, you won’t ever be sorry with the food on your plate! The wait is worth the ROI on food.

breakfast, lunch, brunch

Fresh ingredients from the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, mind-blowing plated presentation, and great location create what I consider an upscale, casual restaurant perfect for any couple, family or solo diner. Don’t miss your chance to dine here!

Allergen friendly

Before we ever went, I called and made sure that they were Allergen friendly. When we got there I also announced to the hostess, and our server that my son had food allergies and we specifically listed them as we always do.

The staff absolutely catered to his food allergies without question and notated which food we could not consume. Which leads me to the next person that I met.

Ms. Stephanie

Ms. Stephanie

One of my greatest pleasures on this trip was meeting Ms. Stephanie. She is the district manager and she knows the food inside and out. Ms. Stephanie and I went through the menu and she highlighted all of the different options that my son with food allergies could dine on.

There are so many different ways that they can prepare food and are willing to prepare food that makes them superstars in the allergen from the dining scene. Truly, a can’t miss for anyone with a food allergy but also those truest foodies. Yum!

Our Server Ms. Ashley

Ms. Ashely

Ashely is the what’s what of Miss Shirley’s Cafe and has tried pretty much everything on the menu. Ashley had her favorites a few recommendations, and wait til you see what we came up with for our table! Thanks, Ashley!


There was no shying away from the Funky Monkey Bread which was a cinnamon-scented, pull-apart and loaded with bananas, chocolate, and pecans. Before it made its final landing the Funky Monkey Bread was dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Miss Shirley's Cafe

Allergen Friendly Twist on Funky Monkey Bread

The head chef took off the bananas eliminated the pecans and guess what suddenly my son could eat food that he normally couldn’t eat when we would be out. Guess what? Where Niko Travels was about to feat on bread because it did not contain nuts or honey. NO latex gloves were used. Allergen friendly foodie time!

A video posted by Dana Vento (@danadvee) on

This tasted as good as it looks and I wish I could eat more through the screen LOL.

Benne Seed Peach and Goat Cheese, drizzled with honey, Buttermilk Biscuits were something my daughter and I were dying to try.

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These were nothing short of incredible. They’re pretty much no words to describe this awesome taste. I do suggest you try on your own as a starter.


This drink could breakfast, and lunch itself. From tasty to tantalizing and filling, it’s got a little bit of EVERYTHING in it to satisfy.


My morning was already so spirited and so happy because I had found Allergen friendly dining for my son I decided just to keep me spirited and going I indulged in a Spicy Shirley.

Who needs a cup of coffee when you can have a little bit of Maryland the glass.

Shirley’s version of the Bloody Mary and it included an Old Bay rim. Now what made this drink completely cool looking was the deep Eddy citrus vodka.

The drink itself was garnished with the green tomato slice and pickled okra, peppers, jalapeno and the celery inside the drink.

Yes, as good as it looks it tasted. On the skewer, you will also see peppadew, green olives, and a lemon and lime wedge. Of course, I went all out and had 2 ounces of jumbo lump crab meat added and this just sent the drink over the top.

I would rate this drink is one of the top 10 I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I had drunk quite a few bloody Mary’s (Canada Caesar’s, when I was up in Alberta, Canada (something they seem to serve a lot of) but this just kick them to the curb. (even though their Worcestershire sauce kicked theirs pretty good as well)

Basically, Miss Shirley’s is like a salad and a glass and if you just got this in an appetizer you would be good to go but of course I trudged on ate more because this foodie loves her food.

Southern Slammer Sandwich

southern slammer sandwich
My daughters experience at Miss Shirley’s was an incredible taste sensation of fried green tomatoes with apple-wood bacon complete with avocado mash, cheddar cheese and then a fried egg which was served on pumpernickel.

The delicious didn’t stop here as she chose her side of stone-ground grits with diced bacon. From the time the plate was delivered to the time the plate was emptied All I heard was “this is so good”

Bay O PO’ boy

Bay-O Po' Boy

The sandwich was decorated with jumbo lump crab cakes and eight Tabasco bacon onion jam that you would find on the side and dressed with lettuce, red and yellow tomatoes served on a Ciabatta that was dusted with old Bay completing the lavish taste. There was nothing poor about the sandwich.

Cookies and cream stuffed French toast with a shot of milk

Cookies N Cream Stuffed French toast

My oldest son is a connoisseur of French toast and when he heard that they had an Oreo cookie in this he just could not resist. As you can see the dish just turned up the volume on breakfast and brunch dining.


A photo posted by Dana Vento (@danadvee) on

You might wonder what the child with food allergies dined on? There was no question that he could eat so many of the foods and that the chef would handle any of the food allergies. My son ordered mini Belgian waffles with chocolate chips and dusted with powdered sugar. The smile on his face says it all.


outdoor seating

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering how you’re going to find this awesome dining location that is not only delicious for breakfast but for brunch and lunch as well.

No worries all you have to do is look for the orange umbrellas that are set out on the sidewalk on E. Pratt St. in inner Harbor. They also have other locations in Roland Park and Annapolis. Just use my photo to find Miss Shirley’s Cafe.

miss shirley's cafe

Tips For Dining At Miss Shirley’s Cafe

Go to Miss Shirley’s either really early or later in the day before they close to avoid waiting. If you are planning to tour Inner Harbor fuel up before walking. While there are plenty of seats there are plenty of people that know about this delectable and incredible cafe.

Perhaps you just think you’re going to be hungry in the middle of the day but you don’t want to stop? Call ahead make an order pick it up and take it with you there are plenty of great locations to stop while you are touring through Inner Harbor.

Lavishly live this foodie destination out loud and travel to Miss Shirley’s Cafe while you are Maryland. Your stomach will thank you!

If you are seeking things to do while in the Inner Harbor Area or are looking for great dinner spots check out these great articles.

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