Big Sky Bread has been a lovely - and quite aromatic - fixture on Cold Spring Lane in Roland Park for years, turning out a good selection of breads.
Lately, Big Sky has branched out with the Moonpenny Cafe, an inviting spot offering soups, sandwiches and a host of desserts for both sit-down eaters and carryout patrons.
The front part of the bakery has been turned into an industrial-chic eatery, with lots of metal and cool colors, as well as homey touches, such as fresh flowers on the tables and a shelf of children's books for the preschool kids who come in with Mom or Dad for coffee or lunch.
The Moonpenny has a modest selection of about 10 sandwiches and a couple of freshly made soups. The menu notes that the cafe uses, when possible, organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and free-range chicken.
We started with two soups. Wild mushroom ($3.95) had pureed mushrooms and onions in a thin broth. Chicken lentil ($3.95) included large shreds of chicken and plenty of lentils. Both were good, if not exceptional.
Of our five sandwiches, three stood out.
The Hampden Commuter ($4.95) was a find - a thick slice of delicious meatloaf with ketchup, lettuce, tomato and sauteed onions, all on buttery toasted sourdough bread. The PLT ($4.95) - pancetta, lettuce and tomato - came with slices of avocado, which nicely offset the salty Italian bacon. And the Bouch's chicken salad ($5.25) offered a good amount of meat in a mayonnaise dressing.
Overall, the sandwiches were definitely above-average - thanks in large part to the excellent bread - although some could have used more imaginative seasonings.
Moonpenny's big display case was filled with sweet stuff for dessert. The brownie ($1.50) was enormous and gooey but had precious little chocolate flavor. A large gingersnap ($1.25), though, was just right.
Big Sky has a couple of parking spots reserved in a lot behind the building, although they are often filled. In any case, there's plenty of on-street parking, either on Cold Spring Lane or a side street.
Moonpenny Cafe at Big Sky Bread
Service: *** 1/2
Waiting area: ***
Parking: ** 1/2
Where: 509 W. Cold Spring Lane, Roland Park
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Soups and sandwiches from $3.95 to $5.95; credit cards accepted
Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *