Great Coffee, Great Food, Great Drinks, Great Atmosphere, Great Times!
We are Jay and James Shaffer, a father son duo that love great food and drinks, but even more we love sharing that experience with our friends. We developed Argosy Cafe over a few coffees, and then a few more. Downtown Baltimore has some great options for food and drink, but no place to really call their own. That is what we want to provide here at Argosy Cafe. Whether its breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour we want to be your neighborhood haunt.
Albert Jay Shaffer - born on Long Island in 1953, Jay was very excited about the hospitality business, as a youth, while working at snack bars. He continued his love for food and hospitality throughout his years as a successful women’s apparel and amateur children's baby food manufacturer. The baby food was a huge hit with his two children so he parlayed this success into hosting many home gatherings for friends and family. After retiring from the dress business Jay went back to school for culinary arts and management graduating number one in his class from New York Restaurant School. Upon graduating his first job was at Petrosian of Paris. While at Petrosian he furthered his education in the art of cooking under the tutelage of then executive chef Joseph Pace, former sous chef for David Bouley, and his four star acclaimed restaurant. Jay continued to hone his craft working all the kitchen positions of Petrosian moving onto executive sous chef at Terrace in the sky, working under Osama Maikel.
In 1997 Jay opened Shaffer City Oyster bar and grill as executive chef and owner. A 13 year run with high accolades included, travel and leisure; naming his oyster bar one of the top ten in the world and being voted best seafood restaurant by Citysearch in 2006. Jay retired again in 2010 and has been a restaurant consultant since. A new challenge presented itself and Jay and his eldest son James have joined together in this unique partnership of father and son. Argosy Cafe is the culmination of their joint efforts sans the baby food.
James Shaffer - James is a New Jersey native who made his way down south to attend the University of Maryland. As a child James had a habit of experimenting in the kitchen with some of the skills he picked up watching his father cook. At Maryland, he further developed an interest in hospitality and food while working at his father’s restaurant during the summer. Upon graduating from University of Maryland James attended law school for a year where instead of studying he constantly wrote restaurant menus for his fantasy restaurant. After developing countless menus James realized law school was not the right place for him and he moved down to Baltimore to start a career in marketing. He was still constantly writing menus and dreaming about opening a restaurant in Baltimore. Finally, an opportunity presented itself to open a restaurant, with his father, where they could serve the kind of food and drink they've learned to love over the years. Argosy Cafe is the culmination of all these fantastical dreams and menu iterations.