We're a rockin' little cafe with a bohemian flair. Each week we feature live bands and performers, and each month we host a new gallery for local artists. We offer a delicious menu with a diverse vegetarian section, by-the-cup brewed coffee, as well as beer and wine. It's a great atmosphere for gathering with friends!
Empire's decor wouldn’t seem out of place at any bustling café in Italy or France. Starry light fixtures cast a golden glow across its interior, and twinkling bulbs parade around an ample awning that cloaks the sidewalk patio in shade. These elegant flourishes are thanks to the café’s founder, a well-traveled Hollywood film producer who opened Empire when he was unable to find a decent cup of coffee during a visit to Houston.
An Italian thread snakes through Empire’s menu, which showcases paninis, pastas, and even pizzas. But in the morning, it's all about the Italian-style toast. The café's signature creation—and most popular dish—features rustic Italian bread topped with mixed berries. But a visit to Empire, like any Parisian or Viennese café worth its salt, wouldn't be complete without indulging in a pastry. That’s why there are two dozen kinds of cake available, some of which you can hear whispering your name from the display case.
Empire brews up caffeinated beverages in many forms, including custom-roasted coffees, espresso drinks, and cappuccinos. There are also 18 specialty drinks including the popular Milky Way, an iced espresso blended with caramel, hazelnut, and chocolate syrups. Of-age patrons can also sip on coffee cordials such as the Java Genie, a mixture of Kahlua, brandy, double espresso, steamed milk, and whipped cream.
When it comes to tea, Thia McKann is no armchair expert. As a Certified Tea Master, she's dedicated her life to studying the history, production, and health benefits of the ancient drink in order to help others better understand the many ways that tea can improve physical, mental, and spiritual health. Her expertise isn't limited to the tea shop either??for the past five years, Thia has served as an educator at Houston?s cancer hospital MD Anderson, where she shares her advanced tea knowledge with medical students, patients, and caregivers.
As strongly as Thia believes in tea?s health benefits, she?s equally passionate in her opposition to tea that?s been treated with pesticides. That?s why, at The Path of Tea, Thia and her husband Chris make sure every white tea, oolong tea, black tea, and Japanese green tea on the shelves is certified organic and free of hazardous pesticides. If the selection of more than 150 teas proves daunting, don't fret. The shop also offers monthly tea tastings, where customers can sample up to five teas and learn important things about each one, such as where it comes from, how long it should steep, and what it likes to do in its spare time.
Just like the savory, oval-shaped loaves of bread that inspired its name, El Bolillo Bakery is a culinary staple amongst Houston's Hispanic community. Though it started as a modest corner bakery, El Bolillo is now nothing short of a legend. Its reputation can be traced back to the droves of people who flocked to the original Greater Heights location once word of its fresh pastries, churros, and tres leches cakes got out. Growing demand led the crew to open up a second and third location just to keep up with the crowds. Today, the bakery continues to craft fresh bolillos, tortillas, and empanadas every day. Though these would be highlights at almost any other restaurant, here they take a backseat to El Bolillo’s famous custom cakes. Available in a variety of flavors, these cakes can be made to resemble anything from a favorite cartoon character to a designer purse that looks and tastes just like the real thing.
If you're looking to get acquainted with Bosnian cuisine, Cafe Adel would be happy to make your acquaintance. The eatery proudly serves up home-made Bosnian classics, such as grah, a bean stew filled with smoked beef; sakavci, traditional Bosnian meatballs; or stuffed pljeskavica, a burger filled with mushrooms and cheese. Folks will also find plenty of familiar Mediterranean offerings, the likes of which include hummus and beef-filled grape leaves.
Shipley Do-Nuts offers a bit of hometown Houston pride with their cake doughnuts and quick-serve coffee. The regional chain is headquartered in the area, and sports some 86 locations throughout the Houston metro sprawl. Early morning eaters can swing through the drive-thru for boxes of warm jelly-filled or yeast doughnuts to take to the office, or just to grab a skinny caramel macchiato to start off the day. Drivers can find the Westheimer Road outpost tucked into a corner strip mall, between the Westchase District and the Energy Corridor, with a large neon sign none-too-quietly announcing the 24-hour drive-thru. With an expanded menu that also includes beignets, jalapeño sausage and cheese kolaches, fruit smoothies and cold energy drinks for on-the-move eaters, it’s no surprise that Shipley Do-Nuts has done so well in the Houston area.