What’s better than kid-certified chicken fingers? Lose the chicken and indulge in some gorgeous lobster meat instead. This re-invented dish from The Food Market single-handedly won my heart and stomach years ago, along with the rest of the curiously entertaining menu crafted by Head Chef Chad Gauss.


Photo by Florence Ma

The Food Market is located in Hampden, the quirky neighborhood next door that boasts impressive foodie fare. While the area is home to many notable establishments such as The Charmery (flavors include old bay caramel and fat elvis) and Holy Frijoles (1/2 price marg Mondays), the jewel of Hampden is by far The Food Market, with a warm yet industrial open dining area.


Photo by Florence Ma

I have dined there a number of times and sampled many dishes, but the crispy lobster fingers top my list. I am a lobster purist in that I believe the best way to appreciate this crustacean is to roll up your sleeves and get cracking, as pictured here. However these lobster fingers pose the greatest challenge to that conviction, with an airy, seasoned crust that balances the sweet, tender meat inside.

The scrumptious appetizer also comes with a honey Dijon mustard that adds a delightful zing to the dish. I am not a fan of mustard in the real world, but The Food Market is not the real world. I put my palate fully in the trust and zany guidance of Head Chef Chad.

Another dish I will take a moment to spotlight is the brown sugar pork belly. Another zesty mustard mixture brightens up the succulent, candied, fatty pork belly. Perhaps I am biased to pork belly because I think it is an indulgence that everyone must experience, but seriously, this cut of pig never fails to please.

Even if you don’t like pork, order it. It’s more than worth the caloric splurge.


Photo Courtesy of The Food Market

The salt and pepper tuna is a light and refreshing summer app, consisting of flash seared sashimi-grade tuna, avocado tzatziki, and cucumbers.

I have also sampled the lively brunch menu, including the lil heath bar pancakes (another must-order) and, most recently, the belly breakfast. Of course, the belly breakfast stars a slice of candied pork belly as well as the honey mustard. In addition, a perfectly poached egg and a hearty homemade hash brown make this brunch treat both filling and satisfying, but surprisingly not too decadent or greasy.

If you’re a cult fan of Sriracha, be sure to check out the papa johntay breakfast pizza. Oozing mozzarella cheese swims in between heaping mountains of fluffy scrambled eggs, while bacon, chives, Sriracha and creamy hollandaise dance atop the flatbread.


Photo by Emily Hu

By now, if I haven’t convinced you to stop reading and go to The Food Market immediately, here’s some other fantastic reasons to go:

  • They offer R-rated breakfast shots (ex. French Toast: bailey’s buttershots, cinnamon schnapps) at brunch.
  •  Their soft pretzels are served with beer cheese fondue.
  • You can get a side order of lobster mac and cheese. Just because.
  • They begrudging offer the plain and unadventurous ‘boring caesar salad’ so your less exciting friends can eat happily.
  • Something called ‘crunchy brie sticks’ just got added to the menu.
  • The lobster cobb salad does not skimp on the lobster at all.
  • The food is twice as good as Woodberry Kitchen and about 2/3 the price.

Don’t have the cash to make the trip? Try the DIY route: