When a restaurant makes eight different kinds of French toast, you know they take breakfast seriously. Such is the case at Brunch Café, a local, family-run chain that serves up breakfast and lunch every day. Pancakes share the menu with European crepes and egg and sausage breakfast sliders—which put a daytime spin on a late night snack. Lunch fare includes paninis, wraps, and burgers, along with classic cobb and chopped salads. Mimosas and bloody marys are perfect for sipping alongside these meals or for toasting the invention of the waffle iron.
Knives flick quickly through pieces of carefully selected fruit, dicing sweet produce into bite-sized pieces at Chill Bubble Tea. Organic frozen yogurt cradles just-sliced toppings such as mango, berries, and bananas, flaunting fat-free and kosher status and the ability to inspire brain-freeze research. Springy pearls cruise through cool, customizable cups of bubble tea in flavors including watermelon, coconut, and cotton candy. Timi loose-leaf tea leaves, picked by hand as carefully as a king's birthday crown, steep in steaming cups beneath modish crimson lights and release delicate dispatches to nostrils.
Owned and operated by longtime Carol Stream entrepreneur Sindy Rogers, Manhattan's gives customers a place to relax and enjoy classic American specialties. The menu includes classics of the American kitchen such as beef stew ($10.99, $8.99 for seniors), as well as inventive takes on old standbys such as the Flaming burger—8-ounces of angus beef steak burger topped with saganaki cheese and lit on fire table-side, much to the delight of carnivorous pyromaniacs ($11.99). The restaurant itself is handsomely outfitted with wood paneling, featuring a large dining room and full bar with several flat-screen TVs hanging majestically above it like so many twinkling stars in the depths of the firmament.
Dennis and Celeste Walker opened Arcedium Coffeehouse with the motto: "For coffee lovers, by coffee lovers." This ardor for the bean is seen in the artisanal roasts they create onsite with their Diedrich custom roaster. Their house blend combines Ethiopian and Indonesian coffees, whereas other roasts showcase just one distinct regional bean from countries such as Guatemala, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea. A café menu of sandwiches, muffins, and dessert bars complements the selection of coffees, plus there are teas and smoothies for those not in the mood for a cup of joe.
Before they were moms with six children between them, Simply Homemade owners Cindy and Stephanie were food-industry professionals, studying nutrition and food-product development. Now, they've combined both experiences to create a company that supplies healthy, handcrafted meals to busy families. Working off of a monthly menu of 22 entrees, the duo whips up mouthwatering pastas, burgers, and kebabs chock-full of whole grains, hand-trimmed chicken, and natural beef from Heartland Meats. Then, they either preassemble meals for customers to pick up or set up ingredients for customers to assemble themselves onsite. The latter option, which takes about two hours, makes it easier for customers to tailor dinners to a child's love of mushrooms or a dog's disdain for cilantro.