Urban Reads Bookstore at 3008 Greenmount Ave. is now also home to My Mama’s Vegan, which is operating a café inside of the bookstore. Screenshot via Google Maps.

A bookstore and a vegan eatery on Greenmount Avenue have joined forces to offer books, food and more under one storefront.

Urban Reads Bookstore, located at 3008 Greenmount Ave., is now also home to My Mama’s Vegan, which started operating a café inside of the bookstore last month.

When My Mama’s Vegan owner Debonette Wyatt learned about an available café space inside Urban Reads Bookstore, she asked the bookstore’s owner Tia Hamilton if her vegan food business could fill the spot.

“I wanted a change, wanted to switch things up,” Wyatt said. “The location was perfect. The inside is warm and inviting. Tia and I are also on the same page about a lot of things.”

My Mama’s Vegan previously offered carry-out at 2915 Greenmount Ave., just south of their new location. But Wyatt said she “decided to switch things up a little to do more of a cafe/bistro.”

“This will allow us to be more intimate with our guests as well as have some flexibility with our menu,” she said.

My Mama’s Vegan sells “100% vegan” food, including wraps, sandwiches, paninis, soups, cornbreads, burgers, and desserts. Some of the most popular items on their menu are their vegan bacon Swiss chicken and ranch wrap, burgers, and a cheeseburger cheese steak, according to Wyatt.

“I always could cook and loved cooking so an opportunity presented itself for me to go into a shared kitchen with another business,” Wyatt said. “I did mainly healthy eats with a small vegan menu and before I knew it My Mama’s Vegan was born.”

Hamilton opened her bookstore partly as a venue to publish and sell her magazine, “State Vs Us.”

“State Vs Us Magazine highlights high-profile cases, wrongful convictions, and success stories of formerly incarcerated individuals,” she said. “We are archived at The Schomberg for Black Research Culture in Harlem, New York, and in the New York Library in Long Island, New York.”

Urban Reads sells books, CBD products, soaps, sage, candles, and more. The bookstore also provides faxing, copying, and notary services, and hosts events such as youth summits, an adult expo, book signings, and a children’s book week.

“URB is very vital to Waverly…. We are also the Hub for prison and local authors,” Hamilton said.

Wyatt and Hamilton have hosted community events in the past, such as toy giveaways, back-to-school gatherings, and markets. Now, the two businesses are looking forward to hosting those events together and having a greater impact.

Both owners said they have enjoyed working with each other since My Mama’s Vegan reopened inside of Urban Reads last month, and being part of the Waverly Main Street community.

Diane Emerson, executive director of Waverly Main Street, said the collaboration between the two Black woman-owned businesses is cause for celebration.

“You now can experience the best of both worlds: enjoying some crafted meals from My Mama’s Vegan and wander through the rest of Urban Reads to pick a book,” Emerson said. “Now, you can stay awhile, eat, read, and learn about all of the great things happening in and around the city of Baltimore. As a Black woman leading a nonprofit, it’s important to me to make sure our minority businesses succeed.”

Waverly Main Street is part of the National Main Street program and is one of eight main streets in the Baltimore Main Street program.

“Our role is to support the businesses here and help them grow, expand or whatever support they may need as they face different challenges along the way,” Emerson said. “We also try to activate vacant spaces, support new businesses and help entrepreneurs find a location in the corridor. We have great, long-standing businesses here; a mixture of retail, food and services. There are great things happening here and we invite everyone to come find out for themselves.”

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Tyneisha Lewis

Tyneisha Lewis's work has appeared in Baltimore Style, Baltimore Child, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere.

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