As the bread-filled ovens in Our Place Bakery Café exude a gentle heat, the dining room’s similarly warm, cozy decor puts guests at ease. The cooks diligently craft the café’s menu of baked goods and familiar soul-food staples, such as vegan pastries, free-trade coffee, and golden-fried chicken. Following a spiral staircase, patrons descend into an underground cellar, where the lounge-like ambiance includes intimate lighting and cotton-candy-stuffed armchairs. Exposed brickwork encircles the space’s stool-lined bar and fully equipped sound stage, upon which musicians perform regularly throughout the week.
PocketBar by Octane Coffee is a community of passionate coffee and food lovers serving Midtown and Bank of America Plaza.
We brew Counter Culture Coffee. We serve Sublime Doughnuts. We are a happy little coffee shop in a really big building
Whether inside the storefront or at a catered event, Brookhaven Bistro's chefs packs bellies with popular food items remixed with a healthy twist. The five-item punch card gives customers the freedom to please their palates with a chewy punch card or a handful of handheld meals such as the chef-recommended blackened tilapia tacos, where fresh and slightly spicy tilapia, beans, jack cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes savor a hug from a delicate tortilla. Brookhaven Bistro's signature salmon quesadilla features a large tortilla grilled and filled with wild Alaskan salmon, jack cheese, and tomatoes. Herbivore-friendly meals include the veggie wrap, whose crunchy insides tap dance over tongues to deliver gifts of hummus and Goddess dressing to hard-working uvulas.
Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters roasts more than 20 premium coffees, benevolently sharing the secrets of a superb cup during the Coffee 101 tour. The two-hour trip fills heads with factoids on coffee's history, geographical spread, and how taste translates across areas. Eager eyeballs get a tour of the roastery, including a demo of how to craft flavorful at-home brews without having to bribe the coffee beans. The tour also includes several samples of Batdorf & Bronson's best blends, with possible tastes including the chocolaty Nicaragua Isabelia and the blueberry-hinted Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. Along with trivia tidbits, caffeinated Joes and Janes can walk out with a mug and a quarter-pound of their favorite blend.
Order a hot cup of special-roast java, hand-roasted in small batches to ensure high quality (traditional brewed coffee starting at $1.65, lattes and mochas starting at $3, and signature coffees starting at $3.50), as you peruse the menu. Third-shifters and breakfastaholics can order a $4.50 daybreaker like the Catalan (a Spanish omelet with sliced potatoes and onions), while daytime diners who insist upon chronologically appropriate fare can have a Cubano panini (ham, pork, swiss, and Cuban sauce, $7.50). To keep a meal flavorful, light, and healthy, follow the happy-heart icons to a grilled treat like the Taaza Tango, a grilled Indian chicken kebab over a cold bed of mixed greens, spiced pecans, fruit, cucumber, and mango vinaigrette ($8.50, $5.50 for salad without kebab). Smoothies like the Caribbean Tango (mango, passion fruit, and bananas, starting at $3.95) cap off a meal and relieve sunburned mouths.
It's the very first dictum on Cafe Circa's list of house rules: "Try something new. You won’t be disappointed." An easy rule to enforce, since the cafe's menu makes newness hard to avoid. Familiar southern comfort foods surprise over-it taste buds with a modern burst of Caribbean, Latin, French, and Thai flavors. A whole fried snapper arrives alongside white corn grits. Mussels simmer in a broth tinged with coconut, basil, and lime. Even the crispy quail and waffles tops its unusual savory-sweet pairing with a combination of truffle butter, blue cheese, and balsamic syrup.
Novelty pervades Cafe Circa's activities as well. Depending on the night, the air above the high-topped wooden tables might fill with the fruit-flavored smoke of hookahs or music both live and DJ'ed. For an even more festive nighttime experience, the staff occasionally invites guests to venture up to the rooftop, where they can gaze out at the historic buildings of the Old Fourth Ward and the irrational architecture of the Old √2nd Ward.