Burg­ers and video games make pow­er­ful combo

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - LIFE&TRAVEL - By Christina Tkacik

Palm sweat­ing on joy­stick, I dodged cars and trucks zip­ping left and hitched a ride on logs whizzing right, barely evading death. I was hooked.

I came about my new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Frog­ger, a pix­e­lated ar­cade game that was pop­u­lar decades ago, dur­ing an evening at North Ave. Mar­ket. The spot was pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by Red Emma’s, the rad­i­cal book­store and cof­fee house that de­parted for Mid-Town Belvedere. Where Red Emma’s aims to spark rev­o­lu­tion, the North Ave. Mar­ket Co. in­spires re­gres­sion. Get in touch with your in­ner child at the Big Kid fan­tasy come to life.

The new con­cept is a part­ner­ship with Bal­ti­more’s Se­cret Sauce Co., which uses the kitchen as its lab­o­ra­tory, says co-owner Matthew Stein­berg. He runs the busi­ness with chef Vaughn Weitz­man of the Farm to Charm food truck. The duo also run the shared kitchen Green­mount Col­lec­tive.

First im­pres­sions: North Ave. Mar­ket im­merses you in a car­ni­val-like world that doesn’t feel over caf­feinated. A dimly lit bar gets a fan­ci­ful pop from cus­tom made light in­stal­la­tions by lo­cal artist Scott Pen­ning­ton, while a vast as­sort­ment of retro ar­cade games lines the space. Keep your quar­ters; the games are free to play.

Must tries: The core menu, heavy on fried foods and milk­shakes, seems de­signed with your in­ner teen in mind. I was sat­is­fied by a juicy $15 farm burger, topped with ba­con and cheese on a but­tery brioche, though my din­ing com­pan­ion com­plained that his more spar­tan diner burger was small for the $12 price.

All burg­ers come with crispy french fries, which can be or­dered with an ar­ray of in­dul­gent top­pings or sim­ply used as a ve­hi­cle for the com­pany’s var­i­ous sauces. Of note: Check out the gar­licky “vam­pire slayer” and “a-ha honey mus­tard” as well as bar­be­cue and ve­gan sauces in de­vel­op­ment. For adults, the drink menu of­fers $10 cock­tails like disco lemon­ade, made with vodka, el­der­flower and rose­mary. (Ex­pect to hear disco heavy on the bar’s evening ro­ta­tion, with clas­sic rock dur­ing

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

The farm burger, at Se­cret Sauce Co. at North Ave. Mar­ket, 30 W. North Ave.

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