Historically, a Cook Shop was a colloquial reference to a stall, shed or small kitchen used to prepare meals for the public.
Originating in England, the idea became commonplace in larger settlements and cities in early America prior to the establishment of restaurants. Cook Shops were for the most part a necessity in growing cities where the better part of the tenements did not include kitchens. The watermen, farmers, hunters and foragers in the area would provide the ingredients for the proprietor who in turn prepared a meal to be sold for a small fee per plate. The meal was based on what was available locally, seasonally, and in-hand that day. In Fell’s Point, most were located in close proximity to the piers where ship builders, warehouses and canneries provided a large portion of their customers.