Mean Bean Roasters' beans hail from far-flung locales, such as the Caribbean, South America, and Papua New Guinea?but they're all roasted locally. The roasts are then packaged, sometimes as pure beans, sometimes as curated blends such as the robust-flavored "Black Magic." The team crafts flavored coffees, too, imbued with touches of amaretto, for example, or notes of bacon.
Set in a quaint, late 19th-century building in downtown Freeport, 9 East Coffee pays homage to its vintage surrounds by doing things the old-fashioned way. That means that, in addition to treating guests to rich Intelligentsia coffee, the staff here take the time and care to craft all their delicious pastries, pies, and savory wraps and sandwiches from scratch. That same attention to detail extends right down to the smoothies, which are blended using fresh, plump berries, and to the fresh soups and salads, for which the staff hand-chop vegetables each day. The atmosphere, meanwhile, is just as charming, complete with chalkboard menus, a sunny outdoor patio, and steam-powered Wi-Fi.
Christopher Ryan has been hard at work in the kitchen since he was a teenager, eventually turning his passion for cooking into a career with the help of training from the French Pastry School in Chicago. Today, Christopher and his wife, Anna, serve up a smorgasbord of savory sandwiches and pastries at their CRC Bakery and Cafe. Guests dine on turkey reubens, tofu banh mi sandwiches, and fresh cobb salads, followed by handmade lemon bars, chocolate croissants, and cake by the slice.
It's one thing to eat healthy, but it's another thing completely to understand what eating healthy really means. Forever Health Café lets guests do both. Its menu is chock-full of whole-food smoothies and fresh salads crafted and approved by nutritionists and explained to diners so they understand why what they're eating is good for them.
Every day, Orange Leaf’s self-serve fountains dispense fresh batches of nutritious frozen yogurt in more than 60 varieties. In the sprightly lime-green and burnt-orange parlor, customers fill their bowls or bottomless magician hats with flavors ranging from pomegranate to caramel to wedding cake, laying a dulcet foundation for all manner of toppings from the buffet. There, they adorn their creamy treats with fresh fruits, nuts, and syrups. Unlike other ice creameries that try to confuse health-conscious customers by listing nutrition information in arcane units of measurement, such as "a smidge of calories" or "an earful of saturated fat," Orange Leaf prominently displays its yogurt’s impressive low-fat, low-sugar stats.
“I really enjoy the people and their warmth,” Gary Scott told a reporter for the North Liberty Leader. “They are so friendly here.” Scott was speaking about the locals in Ely, where his eponymous restaurant--Scott’s Sandwich Cafe--just moved. From this new location, Scott and his staff continue to combine fresh ingredients atop grilled ciabatta, marble rye, and wheat-berry bread, but now hand their creations to neighbors instead of mall-goers. Their mouthwatering sandwiches create a lunchtime rush as workers unplug computer cords from their foreheads and head to the intimate café for medleys of roasted pork, smoked ham, and honey mustard or grilled chicken and bleu cheese. Also popular are Scott’s new twists on old favorites, such as a grilled PB&J or a classic Reuben enlivened with turkey. In addition to sandwiches, the café dishes up quesadillas and salads, and its ice cream and smoothies keep customers cool on summer days filled with walking over coals.