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A New Student’s Guide to Baltimore Cafes

A skyline of Baltimore rowhomes and office buildings.

When I’m not in my bedroom working through my first semester of COVID-19 era medical school, my way of settling into Baltimore has been exploring cafes. Grabbing a warm drink to go or a pastry for a picnic has encouraged me to explore different parts of the city. Here are a few favorite cafes that I have been to so far.

Pitango, Fell's Point

Located on the harbor in Fell’s Point, Pitango has been a treat. Their beverages are frothy and bittersweet; their food is fresh, tasty and creative. In case you want to stay for a while, they have Wi-Fi and outdoor patio seating right on the harbor.

OneDo Coffee Roasters, Canton

OneDo Coffee Roasters in Canton offers some creative drinks, such as their chocolate horchata latte, in addition to coffee shop staples and local pastries. They have a beautiful, plant-filled deck with outdoor seating. While Pitango offers a European-style experience, OneDo comes across as a friendly neighborhood Starbucks.

Dooby's, Mount Vernon

Dooby’s in Mount Vernon has multitudes of options. They serve coffee and pastries but also have the most extensive food menu on this list. They offer a variety of sandwiches, bites and bowls — most with an Asian-fusion spin. Dishes range from fried kimchi pork dumplings to a Korean barbecue cheesesteak sandwich. Although they have a spacious curbside seating area, the benches by the Washington Monument across the street make for an easy picnic.

Good Neighbor, Hampden

In Hampden, Good Neighbor is SoHo-chic with an expansive, multilevel deck. The artsy, low outdoor tables make laptop use tough but work well for enjoying chili paneer toast and a matcha latte with a friend. The menu is specialized, focusing on sweet and savory hand pies and open toasts. Both the drinks and food are fresh with high-quality ingredients. Notably, Good Neighbor is not just a cafe — it also has a shop with locally made goods including throw blankets, candles and mugs.

When you spend all of your class hours on Zoom, how much does it matter where you are? Not much, I thought, when I decided to spend the last month of my semester back home in Indiana. But once I left Baltimore, I missed the higher sun of a lower latitude. I missed seeing my neighbors chatting out on their steps in the evening. I missed my 5:00 golden-hour walks in Patterson Park, when the space is filled with people finding pandemic joy in their own way — couples reclining under a tree, kids playing softball, Zumba-goers grooving to Shakira — and dogs chasing squirrels. And I missed my creamy hot chocolate from Pitango, sipped while looking out over the cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point. My first semester of medical school is almost done. Even though I’ve only been able to experience a small sliver of Baltimore, I have come to love this city that has grown into my new home.

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