Cafes in Columbia

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Mad City Coffee's menu greets coffee-breakers and diners with a plethora of soups, salads, and sandwiches to complement coffees batch-roasted in-house. The Powerhouse sandwich ($7.50) karate-kicks hunger in the face with garlic hummus, sprouts, cucumbers, and swiss cheese, and the shrimp-salad sandwich ($8.50) delicately refreshes palates with tender shrimp, mayonnaise, and a hint of Old Bay. Graze through the greenery of one of Mad City Coffee's salads or platters ($4.45–$8.50), or pair up a soup of the day with a lonely sandwich half for a matchmaking special ($8.20–$10). Meanwhile, five daily coffee roasts boost energy ($1.90–$2.45 each), and Happy frappes ($4.75 each) create smiles with house-special espresso and a yogurt base mixed with coffee syrup and knock-knock jokes.

10801 Hickory Ridge Rd
Columbia,
MD
US

Kolache Kreations adapts generations-old eastern European recipes to bake up fresh, circular pastry bundles loaded with sweet and savory fillings complemented by a menu of coffee drinks and more. Kolache's Old World wizards start with slightly sweet dough and tuck the tender foundation around scrumptious stuffings of fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, or an infinite series of incrementally smaller kolaches.

10455 Frederick Road
Ellicott City,
MD
US

Inside HoneyBaked Ham, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.

To go with the meats, the kitchen whips up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato souffl?. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.

4725 Dorsey Hall Dr.
Ellicott City,
MD
US

Adam Greenberg refers to himself as “the world's pickiest eater,” which may explain Bagels 'n Grinds’ distinctive take on the celebrated baked good. Greenberg’s self-professed culinary perfectionism led him to create a secret 10-step bagel recipe that involves a colossal water-purification system, visible to patrons through a glass wall. With scientific precision and occasional mad-scientist cackles, the newly opened shop's staffers create 16 types of bagels that manage the tricky balance of crisp surfaces and soft insides.

Patrons can smear their bagels with low-fat, housemade cream cheeses infused with ingredients such as strawberries or lox, or opt for one of the café’s other creations, such as Bagnini sandwiches topped with piles of meat or marinated portobello mushrooms. Water from the café's purification system also goes into free-trade organic coffees and three different iced-coffee brews. Custom salads incorporate gourmet ingredients such as hormone-free chicken, candied walnuts, or toasted-parmesan crisps, while six distinctive soups are served in cups or bagel bowls. Non-edible amenities inside the new shop include free Internet access, a semi-private conference area, an 18-foot coffee bar, outdoor patio, and flat-screen TVs.

7791 Arundel Mills Blvd
Hanover,
MD
US

Behind ground-to-ceiling glass windows, giant butterflies flutter in the sunlight. Though they’re only paintings, they cheerfully greet visitors to Vernisage, introducing the upscale restaurant’s often-whimsical atmosphere. Despite the lighthearted decor, chefs practice serious interpretations of traditional Russian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern fare. They craft grilled shish kebabs, peppery dumplings, crepes, and hearty Russian stews using the same recipes that czars once used to melt invading snowmen armies. Servers pair both chilled and hot fare with a range of Georgian, Russian, and European wines to evoke exotic flavor bouquets. A large main dining hall can accommodate grand banquets, while a separate private dining room hosts smaller groups of up to 30 revelers or 60 children standing on each other’s shoulders.

1004 Reisterstown Rd
Pikesville,
MD
US

Café Einstein's chefs wield German roots, Swedish roots, formal training in Italy, and fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a weekly rotating menu of European fare that earned accolades such as "a work of genius" from the Baltimore Guide. Culinary journeys begin when diners strap on their tongues' fanny packs, sit amid exposed-brick walls and sconce lighting, and explore bites of appetizers such as the spinach frittata infused with smoked salmon ($9.95). Dinner entrees then take to the tables in shapes that may include edible skyscrapers of lasagna bolognese, in which a hand-minced, browned sirloin steak mingles with a homemade sauce of fresh tomatoes, carrot, organic milk, and onion ($15.95), and a meat-free version that piles up cheese and seasonal vegetables ($14.95). Diners can bisect the day with lunch bites of the curry wurst, a german frankfurter served with curry ketchup and a fresh-made pretzel roll ($8.95), or the pancake sushi, a savory german crêpe stuffed with spinach and cheese ($8.95). Desserts end meals with a sweet note and offer quarreling knights post-treaty bites to feed each other, with selections such as the black-forest cake, with rich chocolate, cherries, whipped cream, and Kirsch liqueur.

1705 Eastern Ave
Baltimore,
MD
US