Tucked away in the Green Spring Station office and retail complex just off of Falls Road, we discovered the Stone Mill Bakery & Café. The café is run by the same people who produce the wonderful Stone Mill breads that you can find in places around Baltimore. The café is casual and the staff is particularly friendly and helpful. Technically, it’s only serves breakfast and lunch but they’re open until 8 pm on week nights and offer limited dinner entrees. Stone Mill has doubled in size over time at this location. As a result, once you find the door, you’ll notice that there are actually two separate counters where you can order about 30 foot apart (although they look different, they actually offer the same exact food so it doesn’t matter which counter you go to). The drill here is that you order what you want at the counter, pay for your order, and then you’re given a small sign with a number on it. You then pick whatever table is free that you want to sit at and leave your numbered sign the table top. When your food is ready, the staff manages to find you (sometimes this seems like a minor miracle!) and brings your food to you. (They also “bus” your table when you’re done.) The café has about 30+ tables for 2 or 4 people so finding a table (except at peak lunch time) isn’t too hard to do. During warmer months though, you’ll be certainly tempted by the outdoor seating in the beautiful garden surrounded by tall evergreens and paved with decorative stone. Some pieces of large contemporary colorful sculpture positioned throughout the garden offer addition interest. Amazingly, the garden area somehow manages to feel secluded from Falls Road as well as the huge parking lots surrounding the Green Spring Station. On the right sunny day, this outdoor seating is almost reason enough to eat at the Stone Mill café.
The food though provides more than enough reason to come to Stone Mill café. Soups border on being awesome and the “signature” no-fat vegetable, chicken noodle, and tomato basil soups are available daily (Cup $6, Bowl $7) and come with a hunk of Stone Mill bread. (There are also additional daily soup specials.) There are a dozen salads ($9-$15). We’ve tried the Balsamic Chicken and the Cobb salads ($12) and been impressed with both. There a 18+ sandwiches ($9 – $11). There are also a few entrees including beef brisket, salmon caprese, and quiche; the selections change daily (all $15). One recent evening, we both opted for a soup and ½ sandwich combo ($10). We both ordered the no-fat Vegetable soup; Marty decided on a Balsamic Chicken Salad sandwich on multi-grain bread while John tried the “almost famous” tuna sandwich on focaccia. It was a cool evening so we settled for a table adjacent to a window overlooking the garden. A server succeeded in finding us and brought our soup and sandwiches to our table. We both thought the soup was awesomely good – served hot, chock full of veggies and with a nicely spiced broth that was tasty without being intimidating. The ½ sandwiches were huge (and left us glad that we had gone with the combo). Marty got extra pleasure that his balsamic chicken salad was not only delicious but came without the guilt of mayonnaise and extra calories. John enjoyed his tuna but wondered why a just good and not particularly special tuna sandwich deserved to be described as “almost famous”. Regardless, we both polished off our soup and sandwich and found the portion size just right.
We were really impressed by our meal (and were sorely tempted by displays of delicious looking pastries, “take home” containers of soup and loaves of special breads).
Instead, we decided that we would just have to come back and enjoy this café again!
FYI – Stone Mill offers a handful of dinner entrees in the early evening from 5pm to 8 pm which come with choice of soup or side salad – but also start at a bit of an eye-brow raising $19.
FACTS? Stone Mill Bakery & Cafe (Lutherville) 10751 Falls Rd; 410-821-1358; www.stonemillbakery.com; Open 6 days a week; Closed Sunday; Mon-Fri from 7 am – 8 pm; Sat 7 am – 6 pm; No liquor; vegetarian options; Lots of free parking – though finding a parking spot at lunch time can be a challenge despite the large size of the lot! (DiningOUT Review published in 2009/August edition; Review has been updated to reflect current pricing)