The Canopy

9319 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD  21042
Canopy on Urbanspoon

For Mother's Day, we had one final lacrosse game, church, and some general all around activity.  So, since we had our big celebration on Saturday and everything just felt hectic, we decided to just get some Pit Beef from the Canopy and build our own sandwiches at home with a fresh summer salad.  Besides, with all the heaviness from the night before, it was good to have a lunch on the "lighter" side.

If you know Ellicott City then you know the Canopy.  It's been around for as long as I remember and and I consider it one of the tentpole eating spots along that Route 40 corridor.  Other places that would make my list are Soft Stuff, Shannon's, Crab Shanty (or whatever they're called now); and the young pup of all these, Bare Bones.  I'm not necessarily recommending any of these, except Soft Stuff is pretty amazing, but I consider them almost historical places for the community and are definitely ingrained in the fabric of Ellicott City due to their popularity and longevity.  Heck, I can remember stories of people  "taking" a few pieces of wood from the back of The Canopy in order to start a bon fire for our field parties in high school.    And yes, they may or may not be my "stories"...

Since there were eight of us eating again, we decided to order Pit Beef in bulk.  We got a pound each of Medium rare and Medium pit beef.  Traditionally, you would just order a sandwich of pit beef, pulled pork, pit turkey and a whole slew of barbecued goodness (sandwich or not).  I've tended to waffle between the pit beef and the pulled pork when I've visited in the past but today was strictly a pit beef day.  Along with the pit beef, we got two big containers of their barbecue sauce and horseradish.  Additionally, we picked up some salad greens, tomatoes and cucumbers for a nice fresh salad.  For bread, we got some french bread (yeah! I know) and just intended to toast it up and slice it relatively thin to make our sandwiches.  Just a nice, quick flavorful lunch that we could enjoy out on the porch on a beautiful day.

I won't say that The Canopy's pit beef is some sort of culinary revolution.  It just isn't.  The pound of medium was a little dried out and overcooked.  The medium rare pit beef should have been a bit more rare.  I also wish there was more seasoning on the beef.  Their barbecue sauce is a tad sweet without adding any additional layers of zing or tang.  However, it does the job like it's been doing for decades.  I have to say I wasn't fond of the idea of using french bread as the two pieces of the sandwich but after toasting it for a bit, it worked out really well.  Everyone else really seemed to enjoy the pit beef and my nieces may have taken it a bit too far by piling on some salami and thin slices of ham on top of their pit beef sandwiches.  However, they finished the whole thing so who am I to complain?

I can't believe the Canopy is still around and still going strong.  I still remember the food from my childhood and it tastes the same now as it did then.  To me, the place is much less about the food and more about being part of the heart and soul of a community.  Yes, that may be me over eulogizing a glorified pit beef sandwich stop.  But, if you've been around Ellicott City over the past three decades then you know how drastically it's changed and there are so few places that have weathered all the changes.  The Canopy is one of them and I hope it stays around for the next three decades.


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