Best Side Order: Red Emma’s Pay-It-Forward Ordering

30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7611,

Ever since this worker-owned and -operated bookstore and coffeehouse moved into its spacious Station North location in 2014, it has found new ways to align its business with its politics. The larger seating area brought in larger crowds for its speaker/author series, and it often looks like a more diverse neighborhood population attending talks than ever before. Not all of these woke people might have the cash to grab a cup of Thread coffee, bowl of soup, or one of the café’s delicious vegan sandwiches. That’s where this ingenious pay-it-forward ordering comes in.  Now you can buy a coffee, soup, or sandwich for somebody who can’t afford it through an easy, shame-free system: A magnet, which you can buy at the register or online, gets put onto a community board for anybody to claim.

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