The National Aquarium and its Animal Care and Rescue Center are temporarily closed in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). CLICK HERE for more information.

National Aquarium and Harbor Market Kitchen Name New Executive Chef


National Aquarium announced today the addition of Joe Cotton as the new Executive Chef for their main on-site café, Harbor Market Kitchen.

Harbor Market Kitchen, which was completely renovated in 2011, offers fresh, local and delicious fare that is in line with the Aquarium's conservation mission and green business practices. Using sustainable and local products whenever possible including seasonal produce, artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef, humanely raised chicken, sustainably-harvested seafood and shade-grown coffee, Harbor Market Kitchen is an extension of a visit to National Aquarium’s Baltimore venue.

Chef Cotton will continue to increase the use of products from local purveyors and producers and ensure that we are utilizing sustainable ingredients and supporting the local economy. As often as possible, locally grown Maryland produce will be featured in menu specials, and sustainably sourced seafood will be available as well. Hormone- and nitrite-free hot dogs as well as cage-free, hormone-free chicken and grass-fed beef are also available at Harbor Market Kitchen. Healthier alternatives such as sweet potato fries and all-natural hot dogs are also available for those who prefer traditional favorites.

Prior to joining National Aquarium, Chef Cotton and his wife owned a restaurant and grill in northern New Jersey, which they opened in 2007. During that time, he simultaneously operated as a caterer for a nearby golf course. Chef Cotton has been working in restaurants and hotels since he graduated from the prestigious Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI in 1990.

Harbor Market Kitchen includes composting stations that return valuable nutrients back to the soil and reduce our impact on the earth. The cafe also utilizes recycled, compostable materials and offers alternatives to non biodegradable waste whenever possible such as sustainably harvested bamboo plates and bowls along with compostable starch-based forks, knives and spoons.

This spring, Harbor Market Kitchen is participating in a pilot program with the Marine Stewardship Council. It is a critical step towards a Certification for Sustainable Seafood. Additional information will be available as the program unfolds.

Harbor Market Kitchen is operated by Sodexo Leisure, a premier food provider for cultural destinations around the world, for dining, catering and special events.

Click here to find more information on National Aquarium’s dining options.
Click here to learn more about National Aquarium’s conservation initiatives.