The Belvidere Tea Room serves light lunch fare and pots of fine tea Tuesday–Saturday on the first floor of a 9,000-square-foot Belvidere mansion. Built in the early 1900s, the castle-like Victorian home still evokes the grandeur of its past with period furniture, pressed-tin walls, and original woodwork and trim brought from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Complimentary tours offer guests a glimpse into the mansion's many chambers, including a grand ballroom adorned with gold chandeliers.
Ann's Bakery has a rich history of baking bountiful made-from-scratch breads and satisfying sweet teeth with delectable confections. Give your stomach a break from digesting cell-phone batteries with scrumptious cookies (from $.60) such as Ann's pecan sandies, frosted sugar cookies, or specialty turtle fudge concoctions. Scale your taste for cake from cupcakes (from $1.25), including red velvet and orange varieties, to cakes ranging from manageable (from $13.95 for a 7") to monstrous (from $55.95 for a 16" x 24" sheet). The fluffy, moist cakes range from traditional white wedding to german-chocolate flavors, with a fulsome fount of fillings to choose from, including lemon, strawberry, post-rock, and bavarian cream.
After being grown on the owner's family's El Salvador coffee plantation, Topéca coffee is then shipped directly to its coffeehouse downtown in the Mayo Hotel, where it is roasted fresh daily by the roast-master to ensure full flavor and complexity. While the coffeehouse's socially and environmentally friendly practices feed your soul and quench your thirst for justice, Topéca's menu takes care of your more tangible needs. Sample any of the daily roasts with a double macchiato ($2.80) plus a French press full of bean juice ($5 for a medium, $7.50 large), along with an iced latte ($3.20, $3.70, $4.10) for coffee-dessert. If your body requires fuel other than caffeine, let your tongue try on a cinnamon and honey crêpe ($4.95), or have a ham and brie panini with apricot preserves, its contents slipped comfortably between two luscious slices of wheatberry bread and then mercilessly pressed between the scorching sheets of fiery-grill metal ($6.50). Topéca Coffee, named for the original Arabica coffee bean called "Typica," also sells bags of whole-bean coffee for home-brewed delights ($8.99), enabling you to trace the origins of your cup contents no matter where you're drinking it.
With its rollicking roster of sweet and savory crêpes, espresso, and creamy gelato, the recently opened Mod's Coffee & Crepes injects a much-needed shot of continental pancakery into downtown's throbbing lunch vein. Mod's crêpes are made to order, allowing diners to watch the thin batter metamorphosing into a delectably light meal-casing before it migrates southward down their esophagi. Though Mod's delights sweet teeth with classic crêperie concoctions of Nutella and banana ($4.50) or chocolate-covered strawberries and cream ($4.50), savory crêpes provide a hearty lunch in a light, airy wrapper. The club crêpe (ham, turkey bacon, brown mustard, tomatoes, mozzarella, $6.50) channels classic noontime fare, and the spicy turkey and cranberry crêpe ($6) recaptures the tryptophan-laden harvest feasts of youth. In addition to crêpes, Mod's also serves scintillating salads and soups, such as tomato basil and creamy mushroom brie (cup $3.50, bowl $6).
Every day of the summer, the backdoor of Anner's Pantry swings open to accept boxes of fresh, fragrant vegetables from organic farms. Out front, an herb garden has overtaken the lawn. Inside, the staff sorts organic produce, meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products. To help their members streamline shopping trips, they organize products into market bags. Available in produce and meat options, the bags' contents change based on what's in season. Fruit and veggie sacks may include watermelon, corn, bananas, broccoli, avocados, and pamphlets from the Tomato is a Vegetable League. The Meat and More bag brims with refrigerator staples such as organic butter and free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free eggs and meats. Alongside the bags, staffers include simple, wholesome recipes and tips on washing, cutting, and preparing more eclectic items.
Yolotti Frozen Yogurt's eight frosty machines dispense swirling servings of 16 dulcet flavors of yogurt and sorbet, including gluten- and fat-free options, as well as no-sugar-added varities, before handfuls of fresh fruits and candies tumble down each cupful's creamy peak. One punch card fills bellies with five 12-ounce cups of dairy varieties such as harvest peach, caramel cream, and Sumatra vanilla. Key-lime sorbet marries hints of sweet and sour, and seasonal flavors such as Egg Nog Lover, gingerbread, and pumpkin-pie summon up memories of liquid-diet holidays. Chilly customers scoop up their choice of toppings from the treasure trove of ripe blackberries and bananas or crumbly pieces of Kit Kats and Oreo cookies. After pleasing palates, each yogurt infuses bodies with six live and active cultures, promoting digestive health. Between bites, guests can check email over the free WiFi or challenge each other to rousing bouts of Risk, Trivial Pursuit, or other board games traditionally used to determine the outcome of presidential debates in the event of a tie.