There are two syllables that ring true for everyone in this city. No matter your neighborhood, your background, or your salary, we all know what RoFo means.
Whether stocking up on road trip snacks before hitting 95, getting your scratch-off lottery fix, filling up the tank at one of its gas pumps, avoiding the grocery store to run that quick errand, or, yes, drunkenly filling up on a late-night chicken box and western fries, Royal Farms has been there for all of us in one way or another.
What started in 1959 as a way for Cloverland Dairy and the Kemp family to have a milk storefront when home deliveries declined has now grown into more than 170 locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia. (Even Ravens' golden boy Justin Tucker raps for the cause.) The very first location—and where Royal Farms is still headquartered today—is on Roland Avenue in Hampden.
"We've grown up with Baltimore and the area," says Royal Farms spokesperson Brittany Eldredge. "It's like Cheers, when people visit their store, say hi, and check in with each other. We've always kept to our roots."
Eldredge mentions customers who have been visiting the same store for 30 years, snowbirds down in Ft. Myers who are begging for a location, cashiers that have helped customers with a flat tire, or even one Royal Farms manager who helped a couple give birth to a baby in the parking lot. But beyond the community aspect, Eldredge is clear about what keeps people coming back: "It's the chicken," she laughs. "It's addictive."
Since Royal Farms and its loyalty is so firmly locked in Baltimore, we decided (with some inspiration from our friends at Seattle Met magazine) to rank all of the metro-area Royal Farms locations. We had a few simple rules: the stores had to be within city limits or very tightly hugging the Beltway; locations with gas stations, recent renovations, or those licensed to sell alcohol get bonus points; and we'd rate them based on appearance, selection, customer service, and chicken/fry quality.
So without further ado, sit back, grab a drumstick, and check out our ranking of these 31 Baltimore-area Royal Farms.
31. 7950 Pulaski Hwy.
Trundle just a couple miles south of I-695 to get to this gem in beautiful downtown Rosedale. Can’t miss it: It’s right next to the Eisenhower-era Rosedale Motel (pretty swank—the sign says “Phones and A.C.”), where you can plot your next retro tryst. Jesi at the register was great. Total points: 18
30. 3333 E. Fayette St.
A quick in-and-out gas and coffee stop surrounded by body shops, bus stops, same-loan businesses, and Big Boyz Bail Bonds, this is a solid but no-frills operation. The corner of East Fayette Street and North Highland Avenue here would benefit from a more attentive city sanitation department, but the store and friendly staff manage just fine. Check the fried chicken tender, egg, and cheese on a biscuit. Total points: 19
29. 504 Edmondson Ave.
This Catonsville spot doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles—no gas, no milkshakes, and definitely no recent renovation. For some reason, this Royal Farms location had a ton of customers that were children and, according to the them, this RoFo is home to the world's best frozen coke slushee. Total points: 20