At The Original K-9 Cafe, chefs mold fresh, natural ingredients into dishes fit for humans, but specifically crafted for their canine friends. With an eye on nutrition, they whip up tasty Muttloaf, stuffed manicotti, and even “Yappy Hour” drinks such as the Muttini, which boosts digestive health. The menu also includes fresh marrow bones and other deli eats, desserts such as mini peanut-butter bars, and Bowser Beer, a brew concocted from beef broth. Pups can chow down on healthful meals every day thanks to weekly meal plans, or unwind after frustrating weeks of building oubliettes for mailmen with brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
At the spa, relaxation comes in the form of paw massages, nail clipping, and conditioning fur butter treatments that undo damage done to pooches’ coats. The boutique also helps owners dote on doggies with gifts including college jerseys, toys, and treats.
At Olly Olly Play Café, pirates bury treasure, knights rescue princesses from dragons, and parents watch as little ones develop social skills through creative play. The interior space looks like a storybook spilled over into reality, with troves of costumes and toys spread beneath a ceiling painted to resemble a cloud-filled sky. A castle stands at the entrance, serving as the junction between different rooms where roads wind through town houses and a kid-size pirate ship lets little ones imagine attacking all-you-can-eat cruise buffets.
Aside from open play, Olly Olly Play Café educates kids during music classes that range from Baby Signing to preteens belting out Broadway songs. Elsewhere, a menu of locally sourced salads and sandwiches fuels visitors and their health-conscious imaginary friends.
After roasting coffee beans with his family in Pakistan, Arshad "Sony" Javid—founder of Café Descartes—indulged his love for the caffeinated drink by making pilgrimages to coffee houses in Asia, Europe, and South and Central America. In 1991, after a stint as a Starbucks barista, Sony opened his first shop, an espresso cart on the UIC campus, where he poured his decadent drinks to quench the thirst of students, professors, and dry textbooks. Today, the aficionado’s dream has expanded across six Chicago cafés, where warm, earth-toned walls, cushy armchairs, and the smell of fresh-roasted beans beckon customers to stick around for a latte, mexican mocha, or sweet pastry.
Pannenkoeken Cafe's specialty Dutch-style pancakes draw breakfast and brunch eaters to the teeny, brightly lit eatery lined with wooden tulips. Thinner than a buttermilk pancake but still slightly thicker than a standard crepe and abundantly thicker than an unwritten novel about crepes, the café's namesake cakes come in a mix of savory and sweet varieties, such as grilled salami and havarti cheese or apple and ginger marmalade. Freshly squeezed juice and espresso-fueled beverages pair with any of the dozen pannenkoeken options, omelets, and other breakfast fare on the menu.