The scent of freshly roasted beans emanates from Travonna Coffee House, luring passersby into a café where they can sink into a black leather couch and sip from mugs filled with creamy lattes and cappuccinos. The friendly staff of baristas prepares café beverages behind a simple wooden counter, pairing iced or steamy drinks with vegan baked goods, flatbread pizzas, and gourmet sandwiches. When they aren’t engaged in caffeine-fueled conversation, patrons can surf the Internet on waves of free WiFi or walk across the café’s hardwood floors to peer into a full-size fish tank. The café stays open until 2 a.m. seven days a week; on Thursday and Friday nights, local poets and musicians stage performances for the crowd, who signal their approval by snapping and pelting the stage with packets of nondairy creamer.
Urban-Spirit's eclectic art gallery and coffee shop honors Columbus's unique jazz history and the struggle for equality endured by African Americans. The shop has dedicated much of this tribute to the lives of two men, Doctors William Arthur Method and his friend R. M. Tribbett, who built the Alpha Hospital in 1920 to employ and heal their community. The shop, where baristas dole out coffee, specialty drinks, and pastries, is located in the historic Alpha building and is also home to the Loft Gallery. This gallery showcases and sells the works of independent and youth artists monthly, and it even invites featured artists to create masterpieces on premises. The Urban-Spirit Education Foundation, a subsidiary of Urban-Spirit Coffee Shop, works with its humanitarian partners to evoke social change and artistic development within the community. They strive to expand the horizons of budding young artists, entrepreneurs, and students through special events, art-education workshops, and competitive internships. They also put their diverse knowledge to use through consulting services, joining forces with local businesses to aid in professional development, program design, and event coordination.
Less than a month after opening day in June 2012, the staff at Grandview Grind had already showcased a local artist's work, hosted a live-music event, set up shop at the Grandview farmers' market, and concocted a smoky iced bacon latte. They've accomplished so much so quickly because they're robots and because they're fueled by a passion for their teas and brews from Backroom Coffee Roasters, Highlander Coffee, and the Bufcafe Cooperative of Rwanda. Inside their shop, from behind a spacious black bar and dark wooden tables and chairs, the baristas pair these drinks with scones, cookies, and fruit.
As San Su BBQ's showy chefs fricassee vegetables, seafood, and meat on inlaid tabletop grills, awed diners fleck each newly barbecued morsel with a mélange of distinctly Korean condiments plucked from small constellations of finger bowls. Sesame and mustard sauces join tart kimchi as they flavor sizzling stone bowls of bibim bap, several styles of noodles, and traditional breaded katsu dishes. Smooth black marble encircles each grill, bolstering dishes served amid wood-paneled screens and lush potted plants whose leaves change color according to the nearest Scoville rating.
For the pants-inclined, the StrandCafe offers a load of beautifying treatments for hair, nails, and skin. Welcome warm weather by keying up dull tresses with a color retouch ($50+). Social butterflies can freshly flap their way through an event or date by surrendering locks to a thorough shampoo and thermal style ($50+) or full makeup makeover complete with fluttery, eye-catching eyelashes ($60). Peel fingers out of gloves and toes out of boots for a mani-pedi shot ($30, solid polish only) or a full manicure and pedicure with massages, soothing scrub, and paraffin ($80). StrandCafe also mollycoddles mugs with indulgent facials ($50–$80) specially concocted for smoothing out men's rough edges, treating tender skin, and reworking other epidermal blights.
Intricate notes emanating from a nearby piano. Steam rising off a teacup as it sits on a delicate saucer. Signs of old-world elegance permeate every corner of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe, and owners Anand and Doris Saha wouldn't have it any other way. The European-trained couple have been slinging their famed sugary delicacies in the Columbus area for more than 20 years, after honing their skills in some of Europe's best restaurants and hotels.
However, even their most frequent diners will be astounded by their new, expanded location in a formerly abandoned Beechwold restaurant. While guests still get to enjoy more than 80 European delicacies?some of which helped earned Columbus Monthly's Best Dessert in Best of Columbus 2014?they can now do so on a patio or in one of many rooms stocked with the aforementioned pianos. And even the menu has gotten a slight makeover, with an extensive breakfast selection of savory strudels, quiches, and omelets as well as lunch and dinner entrees including angus burgers, authentic schnitzel, beef stroganoff, and chicken paprikash. The Columbus Dispatch praised the latter for its "excellent sauce of sweet paprika, cream and chicken stock that tastes house-made."
But as proud as the Sahas are of their elegant, continental cuisine, they take just as much pride in helping the community. They were recently honored with the first Columbus Small Business Community Heroes Award from Direct Energy for their fund-raising contributions. The funds have gone toward aiding many different parts of the community, a few of which are a local food pantry, programs for senior citizens, and after-school activities for children.