Laurel, then and now: Main Street

THEN: Since the 19th-century, small businesses have shared a section of Main Street in the 500 block, each housed in one of a string of unique buildings standing side-by-side on the south side of the street near the corner of Fifth Street. In more recent years, antique stores have come and gone in more than one of the buildings, and in the 1980s, Pat Walsh operated a typewriter and office machine repair shop at 504 Main St. His wife, Denise, starting selling a few loose teas and coffee beans in the shop, and soon the typewriters were pushed aside for a full-blown coffee shop, known as Something's Brewing, and later as Something Special.

NOW: After much renovation, Abdellah and Meriem Kass opened their 53-seat storefront Salute Ristorante Italino in the closed coffee shop in March 2011. Salute's menu offers traditional Italian dishes, from pizza to pasta, and many items with a Moroccan flair. Salute's neighbor next door is Laurel Mill Playhouse, and the building next to the playhouse is now home to Sean Patrick's Pet Spa.