When I approached the counter at Andy’s Best before lunchtime, there was a pile of steak and onions 12 inches deep, just starting to sizzle on the griddle.
“How much meat is that?”
“How long will it take you to go through all that?”
Lunch at Andy’s Best is a feeding frenzy. And once you taste their cheesesteak sub, you’ll find yourself in line again and again.
“How many cheesesteaks do you sell every day?” I ask Christina, who’s been running the show at Andy’s Best for 40 years.
Born in Greece, Christina came to Baltimore as a very young woman. Today she is one of many immigrants who prepare the best flavors Lexington Market has to offer. They are located directly across from the world famous Berger’s Cookies, another Greek-operated Lexington Market institution. Together, they make this particular corridor one of the busiest in the whole market. Christina and her staff of four sell more than cheesesteaks, with grilled chicken and other subs moving across their counter at a steady clip. But cheesesteaks are what bring the lunchtime crowds.
Not much has changed at Andy’s Best through the years. Even the staff members have been in place for more than a decade, in most cases. It’s this precision and consistency that keep people coming back. As I interviewed Christina and company, I was approached by numerous customers who just wanted to say how much they love the food. I spoke to more than one individual who has been eating at Andy’s Best since childhood. In her time running this Baltimore flavor destination, Christina has seen generations of customers grow up, always coming back for another cheesesteak sandwich.
Like many long-time proprietors, Christina has seen good times and bad times during her years at Lexington Market. But she’s hopeful for the future now that intensive renovations and reinvestment are on their way to the beloved Baltimore market. Whatever happens, Christina and Andy’s Best will be here doing their thing. Through thick and thin, that griddle is always crackling. It imparts a flavor you can’t get anywhere else in Baltimore, one that you’ll want to sample many, many times.