Cheap Eats 2015: Potato Valley Cafe

Where we go for our favorite potato-centered dishes.

At all other restaurants, the potato is a supporting player, a character actor, an extra. At this charming bare-bones cafe, it’s elevated to a starring role. Most of the menu is given over to potato dishes, though in a counterintuitive bit of programming, owners Barbara Ripani and Anders Ekbladh have chosen to focus on the rather overlooked and somewhat unloved baked potato. The proof of the place is in just how good a hot, split potato—the skin peeling back, the insides soft and rich—can be with only a pat of butter and some grated cheddar. But it pays to indulge, too. The Vegetarian Combo is as extravagant, in its humble way, as a plate of seared foie gras with brioche: a glorious pile-up of artichoke hearts, black beans, corn, mango, roasted onions, and garlic butter, none of which—amazingly and, perhaps, fittingly—overpowers the potato.

Cuisine: Snacks and small plates

Where you can get it: 47 State Cir., Annapolis; 410-267-0902

Also good: Cuban-chicken potato; South of the Valley potato.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.