Round Belly Deli has the best barbecue in Maryland

City Paper

We went the last couple of weeks without eating very well at all as we covered the civil unrest in Baltimore—we mostly survived off granola bars in the car (thanks Kat!). On the day that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office announced that it would indict all six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, we were up at Pennsylvania and North avenues, where we’ve spent a lot of time lately. We had heard there would be a rally over at Cloverdale Basketball Court, where several days before rappers such as Young Goldie, sports stars (whose names we don’t recall because . . . sports), and gang members had gathered, so we walked over, partly to get away from the CNN buffoons and to clear our heads from the constant honking. Turned out, the courts were entirely empty, so we walked around to talk to some residents.

That’s when we spotted the Round Belly Deli. We were desperate for coffee and stopped in. The place was old school—wood paneling on the walls, menu on chalkboards‚ and bulletproof glass at the counter. The owner, who said his name was Green, gave us our coffee cups wrapped in a paper bag, New York style. We asked what he thought about the indictments. “Finally we got somebody with balls,” he said of Mosby. Upon hearing we worked for City Paper, he smiled. “The sex paper!” As we walked away, we had a change of heart, err, stomach and went back for a barbecue pulled-pork sandwich. He makes everything in house and we needed sustenance. We waited for about 15 minutes while he made our sandwiches. These things were monstrous and cheap—at $3 it’s about the best deal in town. And it’s the best barbecue we’ve had in Maryland: expertly smoked and not overly loaded down with goopy barbecue sauce. We’ll definitely be back to try his sausage, fish, and house-made desserts.

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