Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bays Coffee House in West Friendship

New York bagels just down from the Howard County Fairgrounds?  That's what Adam from GrubGrade found on a jetlagged morning when he walked into Bays Coffee House in West Friendship.  The GrubGrade boys have a national site reviewing everything from neighborhood restaurants to snacks and fast food.  But summertime has brought Adam back to the nest -- and out for a cup of coffee and some breakfast.

Do you know the single greatest travesty of the Howard County dining experience (ok, besides the fact that the Baltimore Sun has long ignored us)?

It’s that West Friendship more or less lacks any decent food stop whatsoever. Sure, there’s the Subway and Friendship Pride pizza place in the old West Friendship plaza, but at 6 AM a guy is sometimes in need of, you know, a decent breakfast. Or if it’s 3:30 in the afternoon, I’m feeling more like chilling on my laptop with free Wi Fi and a fresh-made smoothie – not nibbling on a greasy pizza that’s more flab and fat than crust and flavor.

Has anyone else noticed this glaring problem for all those who live between Waverly Woods and Glenwood?

I know I sure have, which is why I’m stoked to have discovered the newly opened Bays Coffee House in the otherwise out-of-the-way plaza at the corner of 144 and 32, just a stones throw away from the Howard County Fairgrounds.

Affordable, fresh-roasted coffee? Check. Monster, real-deal New York style bagel sandwiches that weigh in at nearly a buck less than what you’d get at an Einstein Brothers? Check. Muffins and croissants the size of my head? You know it. And heck, that’s not even counting Bay’s selection of specialty hot and cold coffee drinks, along with breakfast sandwiches featuring eggs, bacon, and cheese.

Forgive me if I sound a little excited, but this is West Friendship, after all. Anyways, still on Mountain Time from a recent flight back from Utah, I stumbled into Bay’s just the other morning after hearing good things from my mother. I wasn’t disappointed. Clean,  hip, and very inviting, I was greeted with personalized service, and sat down to a medium brewed but very smooth cup of Columbia coffee. I also met the owner, Mario Castillo, who was more than enthusiastic when talking about his newest venture. Turns out that Bay’s opened just a few weeks ago, and already they have a website and a Facebook page.
I liked their coffee, and I like the fact that you can either customize it yourself, or allow the “Barista” to make it for you. The prices are pretty good too, with the small (12 oz) coming in at only $1.29, which definitely beats anything this side of Einstein Brothers’ buck refills. According to Mario, they get their beans from Columbia's Orinoco Coffee and import their four bagel flavors (Plain, Whole Wheat, Everything, Cinnamon Raisin) from a place in New York. I didn’t try a bagel while I was there, but at .99 cents and 4.5 ounces, they definitely seem more than hefty for even the biggest of carb junkies.

Above all, I like the concept of this place. It’s what West Friendship needs, and it’s the kind of place that can only get better. To be sure, they still have some kinks to work out. The menu is limited (although Mario said paninis are coming), and the space inside in tightly packed. I get the feeling they’re still learning their way, but Mario and his wife, Bonnie, definitely have a passion for this place  that comes through when you walk in. It was nice to be spoken to as an individual while I was in there, and not treated like some corporate rat (Starbucks) or looked down upon as a non-“regular” (your classic, old school coffee joint).

We may not be the epicenter of Howard County, but if you ever find yourself at the corner of 144 and 32 (and who are we kidding, WE ALL go to the fair) be sure to stop by. Good coffee, good people. No  wonder are little corner of the 410 is called “West Friendship.”

(Update: There was a comment on the HowChow Facebook page in June 2011 that Bays may have closed.)

Bays Coffee House
12800 Frederick Road - Unit 180
West FriendshipMD 21794
NEAR: Bays Coffee House is in the corner of Rte 144 and Rte 32.

Bays Coffee House on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I have a you make money off of this blog? I'm just curious because I saw this news article on bloggers and earnings. Thanks.

HowChow said...

@Anon - No.

Over two years of blogging, the Google ads have produced less money than I have spent on foreign candy and sweets alone. I assume that people looking to make money on blogs have the foresight to write about something broader than one county and more-related to products that advertisers sell.

little audrey said...

It's a little west of Glenwood, but I thought Town Grill in Lisbon had pretty good breakfasts and subs.

Robert said...

This is the beauty of this blog. I had no idea about the Town Grill and I live fairly close. Will give it a try. Thanks HowChow and Audrey.