5 local businesses that the Towson community needs to know about

By: Maclay Crawford, Contributing Writer

Coffee Talk Café: 22 West Pennsylvania Ave

A casual, cozy, and friendly coffee shop selling locally made products you won’t get anywhere else, Coffee Talk is a hidden gem right off of York Road. This small, family run business has been serving Towson residents with a smile since 2016. 

With products such as freshly made sandwiches named after local sports teams (Orioles and Ravens) as well as locally sourced ice cream and coffee from Taharka Brothers and Jake’s coffee, respectively, there’s something for everyone no matter your palate. 

The inside is also set up for groups to be able to sit down and enjoy a relaxing time with family, friends, or business partners. It is also a great spot to meet new people. 

“This is a place where you can talk to anyone,” said owner Nara Khakurel.

Whether it’s new friends or long time confidants, you’ll always feel welcome in Coffee Talk.  

“We appreciate every customer that comes in every day,” said Khakurel. “I feel very lucky because of how tough of a time it is for small businesses, and the fact that I can still exist brings me so much joy!” 

Image from Surprise Shop Facebook Page

The Surprise Shop: 122 Allegheny Ave

Located in the Heart of Towson, The Surprise Shop is a small oasis of goodies right on Allegheny road. This lovely, small thrift store was opened in 1964 by a group of women from Trinity Church who wanted to serve the community. 

Presently, they are continuing to help the community with donations to homeless shelters in Baltimore, and providing affordable, good-looking men’s and women’s clothing, as well as a variety of music, media, and toys for the greater Towson population. 

When you enter the store, their volunteers (presently over 60 total) will be happy to assist you in finding your newest fit, or maybe just a small treasure that speaks to you. Every time you stop by, you will find there are new items for you to peruse.

“We find that when a customer comes in, they always come back,” says Erin Woodward, one of the managers helping to run the store. “By shopping here, you are providing assistance to the community.” 

The store is a non-profit organization, so every cent gained goes to direct outreach programs with the Church. If you have the time and are even mildly curious, in the words of Woodward, “Please come and check us out. The pandemic has hurt us, so every customer counts … and we promise you’ll want to come back!” 

(Helpful tip: They also have a parking lot, which is rare here in Towson!)

Photo by Michael DiComo

Bread and Circuses: 401 Delaware Ave

This adorable bar and bistro was started by recent Towson graduate, Steve Fox, in 2008 as a French Press Café. However, because of the poor economy, Scott decided to get a liquor license and change the café-style restaurant to a classic bistro. 

Located in a 100-year-old home (which was used to house old railroad workers), the bistro has plenty of inside seating as well as an outdoor bar area. Even with his original struggles, Scott still loves the Towson community. 

“I want all my neighbors to be successful. We love the greater community, and we want to support everyone,” said Fox. 

Bread and Circuses serves both brunch/lunch and dinner, which features seafood and steak dishes, soups, and appetizers including the one they are most proud of, the Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts. This delectable appetizer has changed many initial skeptics into believers. 

And for those who want to come in and peruse the bistro’s friendly and unpretentious bar, they have one of the most extensive selections of scotch in Baltimore County, with samples from every scotch region. They even have their very own barrel of bourbon, called Jefferson’s Aged at Sea. 

“Insanity is trying the same things over and over again and going to the same places every night,” said Fox. “So, if you haven’t already, come down to Bread and Circuses,” or, as Fox added, “grab your parent’s credit card and have yourself a good meal for once.” 

Photo by Gerale Maria

Burger Brothers 14 Allegheny Ave

Mike and Tim Murphy grew up in the Towson area. Having built a close connection to the community through the years and seeing how much foot traffic the area could get, the two brothers decided to open up Burger Brothers in 2007. 

Even to this day, you can find the brothers in the kitchen making burgers for hungry customers. 

Everything in this build-your-own-burger place is locally sourced and sustainably grown or raised. From the patties, to the fries, nothing is frozen so when you come in you are getting a fresh, high quality meal. In fact, because of  the high quality of their food, the restaurant was named “Best burger in Baltimore” by Baltimore Magazine in their annual “Baltimore’s Best Restaurants” addition. 

Mike Murphy says that he and his brother were “proud of every burger they made.” 

“Everyone builds their own special burger, and we make them perfect for each customer,” said Murphy. 

Whether you are a fan of beef, chicken, or turkey, Burger Brothers has a patty that will suit your tastes. 

Not in the mood for a burger? No worries! You can try their wings, hot dogs, salads and delicious milkshakes. 

So, if you are looking for something new and delicious to eat, why not give Burger Brothers a try?

Photo by Rachael Pacella

Jake’s NY Deli 401 Washington Ave

Jake’s NY Deli has been serving the Towson community through thick and thin. 

Even during the height of the pandemic, Jake’s was delighted to continue serving the wonderful people living in and around the Towson area. 

The owner, Emanuel Gianakis, graduated from Towson University and knew that this was the place he wanted to start his business. His goal was to open a local deli style restaurant that would serve a wide array of American favorites. 

If you are on your way to school in the morning, you can stop by for a quick omelet. When returning home after early classes, drop by for lunch and try their fresh cooked corn beef. 

All the food from the kitchen starts fresh, even the fried foods are made fresh in the kitchen. You won’t be served frozen french fries at Jake’s! 

Gianakis said that he wants the restaurant to be “a place with a very friendly atmosphere.” 

“We try to stay on a first name basis with our regulars and want anyone who stops in to feel welcome and enjoy quality food,” said Gianakis. 

He feels the reason that they are still here, despite opening right before the start of a tumultuous pandemic, is because the food they make is of such great quality, and the customers love the friendly atmosphere. 

“We appreciate the continuous support that everyone has shown since day one,” Gianakis said. “If it wasn’t for our amazing customers, we wouldn’t still have our lights on.” 

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