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Read Street Books and Coffee

Address:229 W. Read St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

More on Read Street Books and Coffee.

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 3/17/2010

Read Street Books has been around for about four years now. We've always liked its homey vibe. There are several small tables arranged around a spiral staircase and a small spinet piano wedged on a riser near the window. The shelves are packed with an eclectic selection spanning decades and genres (pulp fiction here, Utne Reader there, Stephen Hawking over there). Coffee, bagels, and smoothies have been available for years, but lately the menu has expanded to include proper lunch items. The chicken with rice soup ($3.50) is nicely balanced and freighted with corn, peas, green beans, lima beans, and good sized chunks of white-meat chicken. We paired it with a vegetable sandwich ($4.95). "Let me go upstairs and get the tomato," proprietor Christina Bittner said. "That's one of the advantages to living above your shop." The zucchini, lettuce, and tomato were indeed fresh and good, but the mozzarella should have been a thick slab instead of coarsely grated. The roll was fluffy and fresh, though not just-baked. The sandwich could use a little zest--something sharp or spicy to set it off. Our strawberry-banana-mango smoothie ($4) was sweet and admirably smooth. The raspberry-almond torte cookies ($1) were crispy with soft centers, a lot of sweet raspberry filling, and fresh almond slices.

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