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Lunch for $10 or less: Roland Park Bakery & Deli

Don't look for the Roland Park Bakery & Deli in Roland Park.

The combination bakery and counter shop is in Hampden now and doing well, where it appears to have filled a niche between the fancy fare of the neighborhood's new spots and the slapdash grub you can still find at the old haunts.

A longtime fixture of Roland Park life, Anita Ward's combination bakery and sandwich shop reopened last year on Chestnut Street after 27 years in the Roland Park Shopping Center. The move wasn't entirely voluntary. The shopping center's owners wanted to expand the space and install a full-service, all-day restaurant. (That successor restaurant, Johnny's, opened in mid-October.)

The Roland Park offerings are simple and familiar -- hamburgers, hot dogs and breakfast sandwiches from the grill, salami and egg salad sandwiches from the cold case. When we dropped by, there were two soup specials, chicken noodle and cream of mushroom.

A friend and I each tried a soup-and-salad combination ($6.75), which made for a nice light lunch. The food is seasoned minimally, which is how generations of Roland Park residents liked it. The soup has the reassuring appearance and flavor of classic lunchroom fare. And, really, that's what Roland Park Bakery & Deli is -- a lunchroom. There aren't many of them left.

We saw a few customers taking their orders away, but there's a built-in advantage to eating at one of the eight or so tables in the neat, bright dining room. When you're done, you can march right back up to the counter and pick something out of the bakery case.

All of the cookies, brownies and other assorted pastries are baked on the premises, on the building's lower level. A raspberry-filled cinnamon stick was a real treat.

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

Roland Park Bakery & Deli

Where: 3500 Chestnut Ave.

Contact: 410-245-4422

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch

Lunch entrees: $3.95-$7.25

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