Perhaps it was that first bite into a peanut butter raw ball — a chunky concoction that tastes like a little, edible orb of childhood. Or, maybe it was the strum of Connor Garvey’s guitar. No, no. It was when the Americano’s steam tickled my nostrils before the sip. Smooth, aromatic, full of rich-roasted bean.

The order counter at North Store Music Cafe

The order counter at North Store Music Cafe

That’s when North Star Music Café captured my heart — and my ongoing business.

It truly is impossible to overstate what a marvelously enveloping environment owners Kim Anderson and Anna Maria Tocci have created on Munjoy Hill. Everything — from the organic mesclun greens in the salads, to the creative daily soups, to the acoustic performers singing onstage – fires on all cylinders.

Sometimes I simply sink into an overstuffed chair cupping that Americano and play a rousing round of Phase 10 with Adam. Other times I cart in my laptop, log onto the free WIFI and spend the entire day working — and working my way through a bagel, then a sandwich, then a glass of wine.

On any given night I know I can stroll in, order a local brew or an herbal tea and sit back for some of the best singer-songwriter’s playing the circuit. I discovered the haunting lyrics of Rebecca Lobie, the powerful pipes of Jenn Grinels and the witty words of John Craigie — all on one November Monday!

Simple and hearty, the menu is more grounded than ground-breaking — but that’s the whole point.  What feels more like home than a heaping bowl of rice and beans topped with avocado, tomato, and Cabot sharp cheddar? Or, a Yellow-Fin tuna salad sandwich with balsamic mayonnaise, tart capers and crisp red onion?

North Star Music Café is a warm welcome disguised as a neighborhood bistro. If you’ve never been, or haven’t been lately, I highly recommend you remedy that.

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