A much-loved institution in the Baltimore region, Donna’s Coffee Bar & Café has been a favorite Cross Keys destination since 1999. The cute café is an ideal stop for shoppers who want to rest their feet over a cup of coffee or a salad, or for discerning diners looking for a more leisurely meal and an expertly mixed cocktail.

Owners Alan Hirsch and Donna Crivello are serious about great food and drinks – and about providing a great atmosphere to enjoy everything from coffee to a multi-course meal. Here, Hirsch shares some of their philosophy and his favorites, plus a look at what’s exciting at Donna’s right now:

How did you get into the restaurant business and get involved with Donna’s?

I had sold my first business and began thinking about the European approach to food, in Baltimore, as a business opportunity.  A mutual friend introduced me to Donna.  The rest, as they say…

What is your favorite thing on the menu at Donna’s?

If forced to pick one item, I’d pick our dinner entree, chicken Milanese, with pomegranate roasted tomatoes and zucchini.  Pretty basic stuff, but really well done, and satisfying.  And healthy, too.

What holiday meals or plans would you recommend for Donna’s diners?

Our Feast of the Seven Fishes is Christmas Eve.  It’s always a great meal and a lot of fun. It’s 6 courses, with more than 7 different kinds of fish. You are virtually guaranteed a good year next year if you eat here Christmas Eve!

We also do a wonderful prix fixe menu every Thursday through Saturday for just $30.  It’s three courses, always something special, and a great deal.

What celebrity could you imagine dining at Donna’s?

The President, Frank Underwood.

What’s new and exciting at Donna’s? This could include dishes, events, changes in the space, etc.

We hope to have some big news about some new ventures in a month or so. But I like to think the food is always worth getting excited about here!

Donna’s Coffee Bar & Cafe is located at 40 Village Square in the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore. For more information, visit

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.