Donna’s Cross Keys Closes After 19 Years

Donna’s Cross Keys owners Donna Crivello and Alan Hirsch

Donna’s Cross Keys, a neighborhood coffee and casual dinner go-to in Mount Washington for close to two decades, closed its doors on Dec. 9.

Owners Donna Crivello and Alan Hirsch announced the closing in a Dec. 6 Facebook post.

“It’s a sad day for us, since we’ve operated Donna’s in the Village of Cross Keys for 19 years,” the post read, beneath a photo of the smiling owners. “We have made so many friends here over the years, it makes closing very tough. However, gradual declines in business over the last few years have made the business no longer sustainable. As you know, Donna is executive chef at Cosima, and you can stay in touch with her and enjoy her cuisine there. We’re confident you’ll see the rest of the staff as well in other restaurants nearby. Stay tuned.”

The post received more than 120 comments from former customers expressing their sadness and regret that the cafe, which once had multiple locations around town, was closing its last location.

“Alan and Donna, wonderful memories, wonderful meals and great interaction with you both! You will be sorely missed!” wrote Martha Weiman of Lutherville.

Jackie Scott of Baltimore mourned “the end of an era.”

“Sad there will be no more Donna’s named restaurants, and that you and Donna will no longer be in business together. But thanks for all the great times.”

Some chalked the closing up to the once-vibrant Cross Keys shopping center not being the draw that it once was.

“I did a pop-up shop in XKeys in September, and did well, but I can’t tell you how many friends who stopped by told me that it was the first time they’d been there for years!” wrote Meg Fairfax Fielding of Baltimore.

Donna’s locations once included Mount Vernon, Charles Village, Timonium and the Bibelot bookstore (now Barnes & Noble) in the Festival at Woodholme in Pikesville.

Meanwhile, Hirsch recently announced that he would be managing Il Palio, an upscale Italian restaurant at Foundry Row named after a horserace in Siena, Italy, where he would be bringing in a former Donna’s chef.

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