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 in 2010, Nervous Dog percolates palates with locally roasted beans, soothing smells, and a small menu irrigated with pastries and tasty sandwiches. 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 that they’re fresher than a cryogenically frozen bouquet of daisies ($2.35 each, on average). For heartier appetites and edible-strata enthusiasts, the Stow location serves up sandwiches, buckling under the weight of a quarter pound of Boar's Head deli meat and snuggled between slices of french, italian, or ciabatta bread, or a New York bagel ($6.85). 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).
Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
A family-owned bakery, DS Cupcakes carts out dozens of its customizable confections each day, including sheet cakes, round cakes, and its namesake cupcakes. The team doesn’t make it easy to narrow down a choice either, as 16 cream-cheese and buttercream frostings dollop the moist cakes available in a dozen flavors, such as gingerbread, strawberry cheesecake, and pumpkin spice. Sweet fillings also nestle within the fluffy hiding places, waiting to envelop unsuspecting tongues with flavors of apple, raspberry, fudge, and others.
Deep down, owner Leslie Butler always wanted a job naming nail polish and lipstick shades. But her love of working with people, as well as her great affection for cake, led her to instead apply her naming skills to more than 100 cupcake flavors at The Lofty Cafe. Monikers like “The Devil Wears Raspberry” might need a bit of elaboration (chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling, topped with chocolate frosting and a raspberry candy speckled with brimstone), but others are deliciously self-explanatory: vanilla chai spice, maple bacon, and Boston cream. Many flavors are themed by season or occasion. A daily menu determines a few flavors that will be at hand, but customers can score any flavor if they order ahead.
Though it’s hard to imagine so many flavors fitting in Butler’s kitchen, that’s exactly where Butler and her daughter began their business. Unsurprisingly, they eventually expanded their space to offer a dining room and a full kitchen to suit their baking needs. Now they have the capacity to create many cupcake flavors that can be filled or topped with an array of sweets.
For more than 35 years, Reeves Cake Shop has provided northeast Ohio with unique cakes and delectable edibles for all occasions. Its bakers craft elegant wedding cakes in flavors such as marble, carrot, and italian cream, as well as custom-designed cakes in a variety of 3D styles that commemorate birthdays, graduations, and bridal showers. They also bake miniature treats and handheld delights that range from gourmet cupcakes and almond macaroons to chocolate-dipped butter logs, blondies, and apple squares.
Without any formal culinary training, Christina Hoehn started tinkering with cake balls for a baking competition at her workplace. Following her co-worker’s unanimous approval of her german-chocolate, peanut-butter, and red-velvet spheres, Christina decided to take a risk and create Cake Kisses. Working from a pallet of fruity and decadent flavors, her cake balls and cake pops earn rave reviews for their moist center and detailed designs. Christina decorates ornate scenes, such as a phalanx of cake balls in the shape of tiny birds, smiling pandas, or football helmets. Christina also works one-on-one with brides to create special cake-lings for weddings, building tiny treats that can replace the wedding cake or sub-in for ping-pong balls.