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Baltimore’s Yellow Bowl Restaurant

The Yellow Bowl long after its heyday has been over

According to the my cousin Charlie, the Yellow Bowl in the historic Johnston Square community was perhaps one of the most well known soul food restaurants in Baltimore. It’s going on the auction block this week on August 18, 2010. The restaurant as it roots in the Yellow Cab Company started in 1909 and it has not always been a soul food restaurant. In 1921, the Yellow Bowl started in a small addition added to the east end of the Yellow Cab Company building located on the 500 block of Greenmount Avenue near Preston Street. Perhaps that’s how it got its name the Yellow Bowl and it most likely sold typical American coffee shop food. Sam Greenburg bought the restaurant and reopened it in a larger location in the first floor of a two story row house in the 1200 block of Greenmount Ave the former of home of Shreck’s Restaurant. At the time the Yellow Bowl catered to the white cab drivers and the white working class residents employed in clothing and shoe factories in Johnson Square at East Baltimore neighborhood. The original menu included eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast and sandwiches, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, and spaghetti and meatballs. There was also plenty of hot coffee. There are two interpretation of how the restaurant became a long running soul food joint: In the 1960s Youman Fullard and his wife Eva operated a bodega next to the Yellow and when the Greek owners decided to sell the Fullers bought them out in 1968; Youman Fuller drove a hack for the Yellow Cab Company and he regularly ate in the Yellow Bowl and thus got to know the owners. When they decided to sell in 1968 the Fullard bought it. What do know is that Youman Fullard was born in South Carolina. Before coming to Baltimore he worked at a brewery in South Carolina around the end of the Great Depression. It’s unclear when he migrated to Baltimore. More on the transformation of the Yellow Bowls menu after 1968.

The Transition to Soul Food at the Yellow Bowl

Arundel Ice Cream Company Part 4: the Sit In Movement