GLORIA'S BUFFET & SALAD BAR 305 N. Charles St. Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 11 to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call (410) 685-7578. Food by the pound -- it sounds more like grocery shopping than lunch. But the hot buffet/salad bar, at which diners load up a tray and pay the tab according to its net weight, is a popular option among downtown eaters both hearty and dainty.
Gloria's is one of the newest of such eateries, occupying a narrow but brightly lighted and mirrored storefront on the east side of Charles just above Saratoga Street. Tables accommodate a dozen or so eaters, and a counter with stools for additional seating is along one wall.
The fare in the hot buffet bar ($3.65 a pound and available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is mostly Chinese. It seems a wider and considerably fresher assortment than at some similar places, and a nice menu on the wall lists each day's choices (as does a printed carryout menu).