The Choptank gets its name from the Choptank Indians who occupied the south side of the Choptank River basin in 1668; the area around present day Cambridge. The name is thought to have originated from a word in the Nanticoke language, “tshapetank,” meaning a stream that separates. They retained the land until 1822, when the state of Maryland sold it.
The oldest of the existing market buildings, the market has gone through many changes including significant damages from a fire in 1960’s resulting with the loss of the second story used for social affairs. It was the first of the three markets built to accommodate the dispersed population of Baltimore’s boom years. To serve the sailors and immigrants of Fells Point, the market once consisted of four sheds that extended to the harbor.
Steve Paterakis came to America from Greece in 1921 and started their first business, H & S Bakery, in 1943. John Paterakis, son to Steve, would later inherit the business at 23 years old. John grew H&S bakery to be the largest private bakery in the United States and continues to serve the majority of rolls for McDonald’s, Chik-fil-a, and Olive Garden throughout the country. He continued to invest in Baltimore and built what is now Harbor East, a collection of hotels, office buildings, and apartments along the waterfront. Grandsons Alex & Eric Smith continue their grandfather’s vision of a better Baltimore opening 12 restaurants in Baltimore alone, and employing more than 500 people locally. They also have restaurant properties in Washington DC, Florida, and Texas.
The Tserkis family of 5 orphan brothers and 1 sister migrated to America from Greece in 1966 and started work immediately in Baltimore City. In 1973, George Tserkis, father to Vasilios (Bill) Tserkis, opened a pastry shop in the Broadway Market until he joined his brothers to build and operate Captain James Landing. The seafood restaurant opened in 1979 on the property that was once a gas station. Over the years they added to the property by purchasing multiple neighboring properties. Bill Tserkis embraced his family’s passion for the industry by continuing to run Captain James Landing, and now the Choptank, in the same neighborhood his family has called “home” for over five decades.
The market had deteriorated significantly in past decades until Atlas Restaurant Group partnered with the city to develop the north and south market sheds. In 2019, a total of 10 million dollars was spent and over 200 jobs created to restore the Broadway Market’s north and south sheds back to its former glory.