Flying High

Dovecote Cafe soars in Reservoir Hill.

By Jane Marion - April 2016

Review: Dovecote Cafe

Dovecote Cafe soars in Reservoir Hill.

By Jane Marion - April 2016

Peach upside-down cake at Dovecote Cafe. -Photography by Scott Suchman

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

When you meander into the charming Dovecote Cafe in historic Reservoir Hill, take a seat on a tufted sofa, behold the black-and-white “Harlem toile” wallpaper and the array of baked goods under bell jars, and soak in the warm and wonderful vibe of a spot that gets the cafe concept just right.

But if you want to look like a regular, know before you go, there’s nary a printed menu here. “We like to talk to our customers,” said co-owner Aisha Pew, as she rattles off the daily roster. Indeed, Dovecote (a birdhouse for pigeons, as well as “a settled or harmonious group,” according to Merriam-Webster) is that rare bird of a cafe that’s all about engagement. It’s a modern-day take on the 17th-century salon that serves as a sort of intellectual hub for the community—a place where locals go to work on their laptops, that hosts an “Artists Shouldn’t Starve” series, and invites small-batch chefs to use its kitchen to cook for the community.

Pew, along with her mom, Gilda, and partner, Cole, run the cafe, which offers some savory specialties but puts the emphasis on sweet—with everything sourced straight from the heart. We especially loved the tall-as-a-turban sticky bun ($3.50) swirled with maple syrup, loaded with cinnamon, sugar, and pecans. The airy peach upside-down cake ($4)—so moist and light it practically levitated off the square serving plate—was also a culinary wonder. “My mom’s peach upside-down cake will turn your world upside down,” promised Pew—and it did. Also on hand were assorted muffins, including a fluffy corn muffin infused with marmalade ($3.30) and a blueberry muffin ($2.50) densely packed with fruit and encrusted with fat sugar crystals. On the savory side, we ordered spinach pie ($5.66). The quiche-like caramelized onion filling was dense with spinach and the thin crust stayed sturdy (the downfall of many an egg-crust combo) to the last crumb.

Beverages include several brews of small-batch coffee that represent a personal travelogue for the trio. (Brewklyn Grind Coffee Roasters from Brooklyn, where Aisha was born; Red Bay Coffee Roasters from Oakland, CA, where Aisha, Cole, and Gilda last lived; and Café Los Sueños from D.C., where Cole was born.) In addition, there are house-made brews named after the cafe’s mascot doves. Whatever you order, you’ll feel the love when you flock here.


›› Dovecote Cafe: 2501 Madison Ave. 443-961-8677. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Pricing: Baked goods: $2.50-5; savory specials: $5-8; beverages: $1.70-3.75.




You May Also Like

Food & Drink

Review: Minnow

Minnow’s seafood dazzles in Riverside.

In Good Taste

Cinghiale Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary Next Week

Owner Tony Foreman looks back on the history of his Italian destination in Harbor East.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Chick and Ruth’s Delly; Zeke’s Coffee; La Folie Steak Frites

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Food & Drink

Review: Bluebird Cocktail Room

The Bluebird Cocktail Room ups the local bar game.

Food & Drink

The Gringo's Guide to Tacos

Charm City's taco scene comes into its own.

On The Town

Local Fall Beers You Should Be Drinking Right Now

From peach beers to red ales, Baltimore breweries are getting creative this season.

Peach upside-down cake at Dovecote Cafe.
-Photography by Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read


Small Print
Local brand Worthy Threads puts the cool back in kids clothing.

Meeting of the Minds
Now in its sixth year, Baltimore Innovation Week continues to push the city’s tech scene forward.

A Gallery of Inspiration
In her rowhome and studio, artist Espi Frazier surrounds herself with objects that stir her.

Old Vine State
At long last, the Maryland wine industry is crushing it.

Washington D.C. Arts Guide
From concerts and art exhibits to comedy and theater, we round up the best events to check out in the District.