A southern Lebanese village was the first site of Hashems Nuts and Coffee Gallery, started by the current owners' grandfather—Abu Ali Sheik Theeb—in 1959. He roasted coffee and nuts fresh daily, blending spices and cooking falafel by hand that lured patrons from as far as Beirut. While the Dearborn stores are far removed from Lebanon, the Hashem family still mimics the original store's wares with daily roasted Turkish coffee, authentic recipes, and a wealth of Middle Eastern goods. Cooks can stock their pantries with Lebanese olive oil or pickled pepperoncini, and fill their spice racks with Spanish saffron and hand-mixed kibbeh spice blends. Dry-roasted or raw nuts mingle with dates and Turkish dried apricots to create a customizable trail mix. The staff also makes hookahs available for sale—like the art at museums if you bring your art to the museum and start selling it.
Since 1996, City Coffeehouse has drawn in guests with the scents of freshly brewed arabica coffee, simmering specialty drinks, and ambrosial baked gourmet desserts. Organic and fair-trade beans percolate into cups of specialty Almond Joy lattes and seasonal Mudslide cappuccinos with irish cream after thorough grounding, and 13 types of hot chocolate warm esophagi. The café strives to emulate the communal atmosphere of the traditional coffeehouse, hosting local chess and book-club meetings—as well as confused Edinburgh intellectuals imported straight from the 18th century—amid the vibrant red walls and framed artwork that surround clusters of tables and cushy couches. A 5:30 a.m. opening time accommodates early risers, and free WiFi encourages Internet exploration. Special events and regular open-mic nights give visitors the chance to perform yodel covers of Prince hits before a respectful audience.
Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words “unusual varieties” shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners’ passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they’d adopt the theme of “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.
Michelle and Ben Davidson can't get enough of helping others. Though Michelle, a nurse, cares for the sick and Ben, a pastor, fosters spiritual healing, they wanted to bring even more joy and comfort to the community, especially students at the nearby University of Windsor. When Michelle was enrolled there, she worked as a barista at a local coffee shop. There, she learned to handcraft espresso drinks and pondered how to cultivate an atmosphere ripe for both studying and hanging out. After graduation, she and Ben decided to build a café around organic and fair-trade products that help farmers around the world make a living while helping local residents rise and shine, like a loaf of bread baked inside a hot disco ball. In addition to preparing brewed coffee, lattes, and loose-leaf teas, staffers serve sandwiches, soups, and baked goods that are made fresh each day.