Natural Gourmet Classics 334 N. Charles St. Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (410) 547-0550
I have this friend who has a thing about lunching only at establishments that use cloth tablecloths. I try to accommodate him because we don't get together very often, but that usually means spending at least $15 apiece.
One day, I didn't have $15 to spend on lunch so I hedged a bit. I insisted we have lunch at Natural Gourmet Classics on Charles Street. OK, so there are tablecloths on only a few of the roughly 17 tables. After tasting the food, my friend didn't complain a bit.
Instead, he insisted on dessert and coffee.
The brightly lit Natural Gourmet Classics emphasizes that its food is as fresh as could be and is mostly homemade.
Personally, I'm always torn between the tuna -- which doesn't taste fishy -- or hitting the taco bar where ground turkey or refried beans taste good as a substitute for the usual ground beef.
There are also hot deli sandwiches, such as corned beef, roast beef and Italian cold cuts. The muffins are homemade, and the bread comes in seven varieties and is generously sliced. The homemade pies, cakes and cookies are to die for.
The prices range from $3.95 for a tuna salad sandwich to $4.50 for a turkey sandwich with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and sprouts. You can order half sandwiches, which are plenty for me. The salad bar is $2.99 a pound and the taco bar costs $3.95 per pound.