Jumbo lump crab cakes weren’t the standard in Baltimore until Nancy Faidley Devine started making them.

She traveled the world on behalf of the city, “this Baltimore girl with her crabs,” as her maiden name became almost synonymous with the classic dish.

Surrounded by familiar memorabilia and signs from Faidley’s old home — including one saying “Forget Viagra, Eat Oysters”— hanging in a newly constructed stall with bright windows, the 88-year-old reminisced about the legacy of her family’s business as excitement for their latest change hit its peak.

The old Faidley’s Seafood has finally fully moved into the new Lexington Market.

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“It didn’t come easy, honey,” said Devine, whose grandfather founded the business in 1886. “This place has been an uphill battle. But guess what? Today we reached the top.”

Local officials came to celebrate the storied fish stall’s grand opening Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, an event that’s as long overdue as it is weighted with expectations for the market and for Baltimore.

Since it opened next door to its previous location in 2022, the $45 million Lexington Market has been met with mixed reviews from tenants, some of whom have said they were unable to pay rent. Several businesses have closed, including JBee’s Jamaican Me Crazy and Ovenbird Bakery. Managers for the market, which is owned by Baltimore but managed by a nonprofit, frequently expressed hope that things would turn around once anchor tenant Faidley’s arrived.

The eatery had its soft opening on Opening Day at Camden Yards in March. Since then, some Lexington Market stalls have seen a boost in traffic. “Our numbers have doubled and tripled,” said Tim Sulin, who manages the Trinacria stall nearby. “Before, it was a ghost town.”

Paul Ruppert, president of the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, which manages Baltimore’s city-owned markets, said that Lexington has suffered some “growing pains” as it gets going in its new home.

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But Damye Hahn, Faidley’s co-owner and Devine’s daughter, was beaming brightly Thursday with anticipation for the market’s future. “Now that we’re here and we’re open, I know that this market can be successful,” she said.

In the more than two months since Faidley’s has been open in the new building, Hahn said, sales have improved for her family’s business, largely thanks to tourists. “I hope the locals come back and see us again,” she said.

One challenge for the market has been finding the right mix of vendors, including enough stalls that sell fresh ingredients. This fall, the market is planning on opening its own grocery stall, which Ruppert sees as “central to the success of Lexington Market.”

Bun An of Brookdale Farms Poultry also wonders if more customers are now coming to the market for prepared food rather than grocery items, like the kind her longtime business sells. Her sales are currently worse than ever. “This year is slower than both ‘22 and ‘23,” she said. “I don’t know, what is it?”

Devine’s daughters, Hahn and Eve Devine, shepherded the family business into its new home, overseeing lengthy lease negotiations and construction of the storefront. While they waited, they kept operating Faidley’s out of the old market — long after every other stall had shut down — until moving day. Baltimoreans didn’t even have to go a day without one of their favorite crab cakes.

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They held off on an official grand opening celebration until the family patriarch, Faidley’s co-owner Bill Devine, 92, was well enough to attend after recovering from open-heart surgery.

Bill, wearing a red crab hat, let a wry smile break across his face Thursday as he looked at the refurbished Faidley’s, pointing out the standing tables he built himself that were moved over to the redeveloped market from the old one. He was proud of how they’d encourage people of all walks of life to eat side-by-side. “On any given day you may have a bank president and a truck driver,” he said.

Or rival politicians.

“When we talk about the rebirth of Lexington Market, it had to start and end with Faidley’s,” City Council President Nick Mosby said in a speech before the ribbon cutting.

“This is what Baltimore does,” said City Councilman Zeke Cohen, who’s set to take Mosby’s spot as council president after winning the recent Democratic primary. “We do crab cakes and we preserve our history.”