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Edward Ericson Jr.

Red Springs Café

Address:353 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

More on Red Springs Café.

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 11/4/2009

The radio is tuned to some oldies R&B and the aroma is tuned to a mix of steam and subtle spices. The attitude feels like home, but it's North Carolina-based. That's where owner Cheryl Townsend comes from, by way of Silver Spring: Red Springs, N.C. She opened Red Springs Café last spring, and the location, which in the previous three years has been home to a different soul-food place and a there-and-gone Mexican joint, would not seem auspicious. But take note, people of downtown: This place is not like the others. The fried catfish ($8 with two sides from the "hot bar") is perfectly breaded, lightly-seasoned with Cajun spices, flaky and tender on the inside, served piping hot and portioned to the Southern tradition (i.e. it's pretty big). The mac 'n' cheese is more than just serviceable and the sautéed cabbage and carrots are both tasty and healthy. Also in the bins are creamed corn, mashed potatoes, rice, green beans and a cornucopia of other choices, including the requisite collard greens. A hungry vegetarian could assemble a very respectable platter from the sides offered here, and that would cost $6. Townsend throws in a baseball-sized cube of soft, slightly-sweet honey cornbread with any meal. With a small saturation-sweet cup of iced tea (with unlimited refills), the bill came in just under $10.

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