At each of its international locations, Fresh Healthy Café delivers—as its name implies—a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food. More than a dozen creations take form as wraps, panini, or salads, such as the Mediterranean packed with roasted chicken, olives, and feta cheese, or the Mexican Fiesta teeming with black beans, spicy mayo, and corn salsa. At the juice bar, a friendly staffer fills biodegradable cups with fresh-squeezed juices or blends whole fruit and non-fat yogurt into hearty smoothies. Beyond lunch, Fresh Healthy Café caters to the morning crowd with oatmeal bowls and parfaits layered with fruit and yogurt. They also do their part for the community by sponsoring school programs and picking up the gold coins that reckless people litter.
A nonprofit, java-centric venture, Urbean Café brews and serves steaming cups of locally roasted coffee in order to support Urban Connection, a community-outreach program designed to provide employment training to disadvantaged members of the community. The café menu stars fresh, Akron-roasted beans in a stimulating selection of coffee concoctions ($1–$4), alongside a tasty supporting ensemble of seasonal sandwiches ($3.50), soups ($2), muffins ($1), and more. The eco-friendly café building boasts solar-power panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a noticeable absence of stove-burning stoves. The mobile Urbun Cart makes it easier than ever to guzzle a tummy-warming drink while enjoying the all-over warmth that comes with helping others.
Named Akron’s Best Coffee Shop by CityVoters, Nervous Dog percolates palates with locally roasted beans, soothing smells, and a small menu irrigated with pastries and tasty sandwiches (sandwiches coming soon—will be available at Stow location only). To prepare for a busy workday filled with consolidating files with a flaming broadsword, grab a small coffee ($1.75), or opt for a more complex tongue massaging with a small latte ($2.95), cappuccino ($2.95), or mocha ($3.55). The various tasty pastries are baked daily, ensuring they’re fresher than a cryogenically frozen bouquet of daisies ($2.35 each, on average). Customers on the run and method actors doing research for a Boo Radley portrayal can stock up on invigorating coffee with a one-pound bag of beans ($12.85).
Margaret and Phillip Nabors were ahead of the curve in championing natural and organic foods when they opened Mustard Seed Market & Café in 1981. To ensure the integrity of every item stocked on their shelves, the Nabors developed a list of golden standards—nine guidelines that range from a ban on high-fructose corn syrup to selling only cruelty-free cosmetics. This combination of rigor and passion has propelled Mustard Seed for more than 30 years, filling two locations with locally grown produce, fresh-baked vegan cookies, and naturally lean-but-tender beef from certified Piedmontese cattle, which are raised on an all-vegetarian diet free of steroids and antibiotics.
Today, the Nabors' children, Abraham and Gabe, have joined their parents in leading Mustard Seed's team of natural-foods experts—who include everyone from the customer-service associates to the stockers, ensuring that shoppers can find answers to their questions around every corner. The store also educates customers through classes and free lectures on topics such as California wines and what’s going to happen when they run out of letters to name the vitamins.
At the Root Café, the staff’s passion for food takes a backseat to their passion for community. That’s not to say they don’t love making their steaming cups of coffee, baked goods, and fruity smoothies, but the true reason behind their culinary efforts is to keep guests fed and happy during a range of community-oriented events. Each month the café features activities such as poetry readings, children’s playtime, comedy shows, and forums about current events, serving as a place for locals to hang out and build bonds. While the atmosphere is always jovial, clients who wish to get work done can utilize the shop’s free Wi-Fi.
Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.