Suburban Coffee, updated Nov. 2023

The meetings I am the most excited about, the brainstorming sessions that bring the most joy, the most productive working hours all happen in the welcoming arms of a local coffee shop. Being in a cafe environment triggers the ‘Nina that I want to be’ in full force. The music, the fresh coffee and the constant, subtle movement aids my focus so much more than the fluorescent lights of an office space. 

As you may know, I do not live in the city, I live in a suburban paradise, Odenton. While I love driving into Baltimore or Downtown Annapolis to work from a coffee shop, time is not always on my side and I need to stick closer to home and park in an actual parking lot.

Like most important things in life, I turned to social media for help: I wanted to know where the best non-city coffee shops were. Guess what? Crickets.., I did get several responses though, but they said, “Nina, I can’t wait for you to share what you find because I have no idea”.

Uhhhh, what!? No one knows where any of the suburban coffee shops are!? But, the people have spoken. There is a demand and no supply of information. Answering my own question and offering a local database to those of you suburbanites like me, I give you:

The best suburban coffee shops outside of city limits. 

(in no particular order)

The Coffeehouse

Annapolis Junction, MD

A pizza place is bookended by a Micro-brewery and coffee shop – does it get better? The Coffeehouse is the newest shop to hit my radar. It is a rare find to enjoy a coffee shop that does food and beverages equally well. I was able to host several work meetings over the last year here and each time they consistently delivered. I really love that they have an area to sit that feels like a living room. Area rugs and couches are important to a true coffeehouse vibe and this one also has a fireplace with decorated mantle.

PRO-TIP: Make a day of it. Start with breakfast and move down the line to Pepper Jacks for lunch and finish with Notch 8 for dinner and drinks.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Daybreak Skillet, “A generous portion of our seasoned home fries mixed with scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage topped with melted cheddar jack cheese, peppers & onions”.

Brewing Good Coffee

Savage, MD

I’ve previously shared my love of Brewing Good Coffee so this should come as no surprise. Lovely environment with indoor seating in a separate space next door. They get a lot of bonus points for me because they are vegan. I’m over the eye rolling when I ask for a Cappuccino with Oat/Coconut milk (yes, I get that cows milk froths better, but it is simply something I can no longer mess around with). Savage Mill needs to be explored more; there are many local artisans that call the Mill home. Roggenart (spoiler alert) just opened their newest location at the Mill as well. Make a day of it!

PRO-TIP: Parking is limited in the front spaces, keep driving around the side of the building by the river and there is a lot. Also, walk the bridge an stare at the water for a minute. It’ll make you a happier person.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Coconut milk cappuccino.


Columbia, MD (Towson, Ellicott City and Savage)

There is a lot to love about Roggenart. They are based out of Baltimore, but have opened a location in the middle of Columbia, right off of Dobbin. Additionally, there is a location in Savage Mill and Ellicott City.

It is insanely accessible to so much of Central Maryland.  The food menu is broken into the following subcategories: Bread, Cakes, Croissants, Muffins. They know carbs better than anyone. Not only that, but the serve up the smoothest Italian roast coffee and espresso. They’ve enhanced the Columbia Maryland community with their artisan approach and local flare.

PRO-TIP: they offer unlimited free drink refills while you work from their location and #2, if you show up at closing time, you can buy all of their pastries HALF OFF. 
MY RECOMMENDATION: nutella brioche and simple black coffee. 

Ragamuffins Coffee House

Laurel, MD

Comfortable couches and the best mugs in town, two important factors that make Ragamuffins Coffee House a place to stay in all day. Hold on to their punch card, it  fills up mighty fast. Serving up La Colombe you will enjoy, I dare say, the best, most artistic Coffee House experience out in the ‘burbs. You’ll think you’re in a city, living a different life if only for a moment. This is my personal favorite coffee shop to work from for atmosphere. I was inspired to share my experience and the many layers that create this dynamic space- it elates me to see the positive impact this business has had on Main Street Laurel.

PRO-TIP: snatch one of the couches near the wall, you get the best seat in the house and outlets. 
MY RECOMMENDATION: blueberry muffin and basic latte.

Old Mill Cafe

Ellicott City, MD

This is not the first nor the last time I will sing my praises for Old Mill Cafe. Being one of the first new business in Old Ellicott City after the second recently damaging flood, this location is a true beacon of hope for locals. Beyond that, the owner, Felicia, is one of my favorite humans. Genuine coffee house experience on a historic Main Street by the roaring Patapsco. It is a new business but feels like it has been there forever. Read my full review of this spot in the post: Lavender Latte. Delicious food, home-style atmosphere and wall-to-wall with ‘regulars’ who don’t even have to order, the baristas have it covered. 

PRO-TIP: they host the most amazing events and participate in all of OEC community events. From live music, Valentines Day, Haunted Tarot + Tea Nights – you want to get their evites first because they sell out. 
MY RECOMMENDATION: duh. Lavender latte and sit outside on their patio, you absolutely will not regret it. 

Bean Rush

Crownsville, MD (and Annapolis)

Bean Rush has two locations in Anne Arundel County. If you don’t live in Downtown Annapolis, absolutely visit their original location in Crownsville. When you walk through the doors you are transformed into a state of wanderlust. The walls are filled with travel photos and you’ll quickly find out the owner is Australian. On another note, their menu is out of control! I’ve had one of the greatest cappuccinos of my life here and made unnatural noises whilst devouring a Reese’s cookie. All this goodness tucked away in the rural setting of Crownsville.

PRO-TIP: if you’re going to be there awhile, try to snag a spot towards the back corner by the comfy leather chairs – the bar top is super cool but it quickly becomes the waiting area for people who are taking their order to go.
MY RECOMMENDATION: cappuccino and blondie brownie (please send me a DM after you eat this thanking me, you’re welcome in advance).

Baltimore Coffee & Tea

Odenton, MD (and Hanover)

I feel like Baltimore Coffee & Tea is the most consistent presence in my coffee shop life right now. Many client meetings happen here and ya girl has clocked 100 admin catch up hours. They make it easy to work here with the HANDS DOWN best playlist and unlimited coffee. It is the easiest one for me to access and their coffee drinks so well. The atmosphere varies depending on which location you visit, but is filled to the brim with people meeting and staying a while- very few orders to go from what I’ve witnessed. Each location fits the vibe of the area, try the Odenton and then head over to Hanover to see what I mean. I so appreciate this local roaster opening a location so close to my home, it has made my neighborhood that much better.

PRO-TIP: free coffee while you are in the building AND if you’re military in uniform you get free coffee!!!
MY RECOMENDATION : sugar cookie and snickerdoodle seasonal drip roast.

Mad City Coffee

Columbia, MD

No frills, just really good coffee and food at Mad City Coffee. I’ve had a handful of work meetings here and feel good enough about the patrons and staff to bring my two wild kiddos inside for breakfast. It’s on the entry level floor of a commercial office building -but don’t let that fool you- the quality is top notch and they have an serious following of real deal coffee connoisseurs. They are a roaster as well and you can buy their blends in bulk. This is accessible for not just my Columbia friends but those traveling along rt 108 in Clarksville, Ellicott City and Fulton.

PRO-TIP: they run sales on their roasts all the time and carry specialty small batch beans for you to take home. They have no social media presence so you need to go in to find out.
MY RECOMMENDATION: you want to eat breakfast here with an egg & cheese on their english muffin with ANY of their drip coffee.


Catonsville, MD

With 5 locations in the Baltimore area, I know you’ve heard of Atwater’s. I particularly love the Catonsville location. It was recently renovated but you do get the feeling that this was an old shop with an upstairs apartment back in the day. The walls are decorated with local art and countless windows offer the perfect dose of natural light. There are plenty of nooks for a quiet conversation as well as large tables that can seat upwards of 8 people. They source a lot of their produce locally and have loads of vegan and gluten-free options. I’ve blogged about this place and my love of Catonsville in: The Great 21228. Atwater’s is a staple of the walk-able Main Street in town and is loved by all locals.

PRO-TIP: watch their social media for events. In the spring time they have a 3 course dinner event that sells out fast. They also participate in local farmer’s markets depending on the season.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Latte AND fresh lemonade with their creekstone farms burger.

Little Market Cafe

Ellicott City, MD

Getting a puppy this year sent me on a never ending quest to discover all of the dog-friendly places in Maryland. One of the best spots for the warmer months is Little Market Cafe. The bustling sound of the river, the enchanted garden feeling and, of course, the delectable coffee adds to the allure. Nothing quite like it and nothing ‘suburban’ about it, it takes you somewhere else entirely.

PRO-TIP: Bring your dog only if they like other dogs and kids. This was a hub for local folks walking their dogs (can you imagine that life – so fun!)

So you scrolled to the bottom for a synopsis, I don’t blame you. Let’s recap…


Where can I get good coffee in a spectacular environment without driving more than 20min?


Shoot…there are SO many awesome places! You can get the vibe of a city coffee house without the drive. Little Market Cafe, The Coffeehouse, Roggenart, Raggamuffins, Old Mill, Balt. Coffee & Tea, Mad City, Bean Rush & Brewing Good Coffee- those will ALL treat you very well, I assure you.


City shops, I’m talking to you, OPEN LOCATIONS IN SUBURBIA! We need coffee just as much as the city folks and in some cases more. Just because there isn’t a niche market for it, does not mean that there isn’t a demand. Too often I pass strip malls with vacancy that would be just perfect for an authentic coffee house.


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