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Jun 16, 2008 08:49 PM

Local, Organic restaurants in the Baltimore area?

Could someone point me in the direction of a quality restaurant for lunches/dinners that serves organic foods or locally grown produce. Perhaps a coffee shop with the same idea? Thanks!

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  1. Dogwood in Hampden- The restaurant is downstairs (down a ramp) from a takeout window when you walk in on street level. There you can get smaller snacks, coffee, smoothies. Check it out. I loved it for lunch.

    Bluehouse on Fleet Street between Harbor East and Fells...Home Store and Cafe
    they get most (if not all?) of their food from Zias in Towson. great for lunch. Breakfast too. Fair trade/ organic coffee as well.

    1. The Dining@large blog on the Baltimore Sun has a link to the "Eat in Season Challenge" in which one local restaurant each month does a menu centered around local/in season ingredients. The menu is only for a week during the month and it looks like this week is Brass Elephant.

      1. In Columbia, Great Sage is a vegetarian/organic restaurant, though its pricy. In Owings Mills, off of Dolefeild Rd. The Flying Avacado is a funky cafe/coffe shop with organic salads, soups, sands. and meats. I like their tea selections. Its next to the natural pharmacy.

          1. re: hon

            What's the expression about all hat and no cattle?

            When they first opened up the coffee shop, it struck me that for a place that is so proud to be "Buy Local", they got their primary product from North Carolina. Really? You couldn't find a single decent roaster in the state?

            Then a friend went the other day and noted the special: Alaskan salmon.

            I understand, even approve of, the idea of sourcing the best ingredients one can find. This often means looking outside one's immediate area. Can we put this local, organic marketting idea to bed now?

            1. re: KAZ

              While one purpose of using locally grown ingredients is to support the local economy, a broader view is that these restaurants are using ingredients that come from sustainable sources. Perhaps the Alaskan Salmon was sourced with that general philosophy in mind. I also get the impression that the folks at Woodberry are very real about these issues and not *just* taking advantage of the marketing aspect.

              BTW, a local coffee roaster would still get their beans from other countries and Counter Culture Coffee is now in DC which just might be considered local ?

              I might be as cynical as you about this whole idea when Burger King starts advertising locally raised Whoppers.

              1. re: smt

                There are TWO great local roasters right here in Baltimore- if they aren't getting their coffee from one of them, they should be ashamed!

                Zeke's (some organic stuff):
                Bluebird (all organic and sustainable):

                1. re: mgarland

                  Zeke's is popular, but if you say they are *great,* how would you rate Counter Culture Coffee?

                  I've had Bluebird once and liked it.

                  Im not sure how well-versed each is in creating espresso blends. It does not seem Bluebird roasts an espresso blend.

                  As far as I know, Zeke's does not have an espresso machine at their roasting plant (i could be completely wrong about that). Thus, how does Zeke's test their espresso blend without an espresso machine?

                  Any well-versed coffee experts out there care to comment?

                  1. re: smt

                    I don't know if I qualify as "well-versed" but in general I agree with your take on Zekes. I have bought all three of their espresso blends. I like the Shot Tower the best, but none have blown me away. I'll order an occasional pound from Gimme! on-line but still end up getting most of my coffee from Zeke's at the farmer's markets because of the convenience factor.

                    I've been to Zeke's roasting "plant" off Harford Road and do not remember seeing an espresso machine, FWIW. I could have missed it though.

                    I like the old Key Coffee's espresso blend (Woodworkers? i think?). Perhaps this deserves its own thread, but I'd be interested in hearing other's source for good local espresso blends.

                    1. re: smt

                      I was basing the statement more on the fact that these are great local coffees - ie from Baltimore itself.

                      That being said, I've had the coffee at Woodberry, it was really good if I recall. The food was merely OK, while I do agree with their philosophy of using local ingredients I felt that they could have been more adventurous with the food. Also, I ordered some roasted oyster and they were served on a HUGE pile of rock salt- I thought that was pretty wasteful- don't know if they just threw out all of that salt- I'm sure they did!

                      Both the owners of Zeke's and Bluebird were roasters for Key Coffee before they were bought out and their roastery taken out of the state. Also- The Daily Grind is now a national franchise. I laugh when I hear people talking about how "local" Key Coffee/Daily Grind are. Sure, it was 10 years ago. Not now.

                      1. re: mgarland

                        I also was unimpressed by the food at WK. I am definately a fan of Bluebird coffee.

                    2. re: mgarland

                      I've considered buying Bluebird coffee at Whole Foods, but declined because it was sold in less than one pound bags (I forget if it was 14 oz. or 12 oz.). It really pisses me off when sellers reduce the package size to try to hide the actual price.

                  2. re: KAZ

                    I actually asked about the fish the one time I went to Woodberry Kitchen, b/c there aren't very many local, sustainable fish available and I knew whatever fish was on the menu wasn't one (I can't actually remember what kind of fish it was actually). Our waiter explained that they have a relationship with a sustainable fish guy who is local, but gets his fish from wherever they are caught (or farmed) in a sustainable way. The waiter's sister actually worked on the fishing boats where the fish came from too. So I think they're pretty serious about it. Fish are hard though for our part of country.

                2. There are only two serious answers to your question -- Woodberry Kitchen and Dogwood Cafe/Deli. Both are making a real, not feigned, effort to serve local meat, dairy and produce in season, and both are delicious.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: lawhound

                    Clementine in Hampden also features locally gown/raised food. And is wonderful!!

                    Also the owners of B and the Helmand have started their own farm and are growing their own produce for their restuarants- do not know if it is organic.

                    1. re: poached

                      Clementine is in Hamilton, not Hampden. And yes, that place is awesome. Was there recently and enjoyed its salmon cake sandwich throughly.

                      1. re: Guten Appetit

                        woops! my automatic poilot was on-thanks for picking up my typo

                    2. re: lawhound

                      Thank you. This seems to be the type of cuisine I am looking for. Similar to the restaurant I work at in upstate NY, the Stonecat Cafe. Thanks for all the help!

                      Stonecat Cafe
                      Hector, NY, Hector, NY

                      1. re: KyleB

                        tersiguel's makes its own salumi from its own pigs. I believe its farm also supplies produce to the restaurant.

                        1. re: tartuffe

                          I don't get the sudden excitement. Most independent restaurants have been doing local/organic for years.

                          1. re: kelarry

                            thanks a lot for that comment,kelarry!!!!!!