A red bicycle hangs on a wall at The Red Bicycle Coffee Café and Catering. Its perpetual stillness contrasts the bustling activity of the café's baristas, who grind single-origin beans for bold cups of coffee and creamy lattes. Though the beans are imported from exotic locales such as Hawaii, Ethiopia, or India, the local coffee artisans at Joe Van Gogh in Hillsborough check the expiration dates printed on each bean before roasting them to ensure a fresh taste.
In addition to steaming cups of joe, guests can sip Mighty Leaf whole-leaf teas, nibble locally baked pastries, and chomp into sandwiches loaded with deli meats and cheeses. The Red Bicycle's light morsels and laid-back atmosphere also attract local artists and musicians, who display their work on the walls and swing by to strum a guitar or perform Brahms's Second Concerto on the kazoo.
The two best friends behind Bean & Barrel wanted to create a cozy space where patrons could feel at home and lounge for hours, so they decided to open a coffee, wine, and craft-beer bar. In 2010, the duo devised a way to make guests stay even longer without sneaking around and setting every person's watch back one hour?they hired a chef to whip up gourmet food that would pair with the drinks.
Executive chef Sam Allen dishes out American comfort food, including fried pimento mac 'n' cheese bites, Angus beef and lamb burgers, and a free-range-chicken breast in pan drippings. These plates accompany American craft beers and more than 20 rotating wines sourced from the Americas, Europe, New Zealand, and points beyond. Each glass is poured using a nitrogen-pressurized wine dispenser, which keeps the wine fresh enough for millionaires to use as mouthwash.
For lighter options, organic pastries from nearby Ninth Street Bakery pair perfectly with organic, fair-trade brews made with beans roasted by local Larry's Coffee.
The anytime meal house originated as a natural-foods grocery in the late '70s, a time when you could still find lettuce that wasn't in a can. Since moving the store to a bright, capacious space with high ceilings and massive windows, owner Mimi Pearson has expanded the shop to included a kitchen and dining room. Stop in for breakfast and enjoy a bowl of organic vanilla yogurt swimming with fresh fruit ($5.95) or a quiche of the day made with free-range eggs and served with pineapple, grapes, and a meat or veggie selection ($5–$5.50). Midday grub includes salads, such as a Greek starring crostini with tapenade ($7 for a large, $5 small) or organic leaf garden salad ($5 large, $4 small). Diners can also expect to find sandwiches, served on bread of choice (black Russian, Vienna white, rye, sunflower, multi-grain wheat, or sourdough). Try the smoked turkey and provolone ($6.25) or veggie-friendly avocado club (smoked mozzarella, red onion, tomato vinaigrette, and avocado, $7.75). Dinner, served every night excluding Sunday, includes the famed burritos made with brown rice, black beans, white cheddar cheese, and your choice of salsa ($11–$13).
For more than 40 years, Robert Roskind had a vision of opening a caf? that would serve as a community gathering space. That dream came to fruition with Oasis in Carr Mill. Visitors read or converse over cups of Counter Culture Coffee or organic beer and nibble locally baked pastries, vegan burritos, and sandwiches from Foster's. Local speakers often deliver better-living presentations in the evenings, musicians play acoustic music on weekend nights, and the cafe shows spiritual movies from their Movies-That-Matter series on Friday nights. The caf?'s decor is elegantly rustic, with wooden floors and ceilings, a beaded chandelier, and a lounge area with luxuriously large pillows.