Cafes in Freeport

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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.

9 E Stephenson St.
Freeport,
IL
US

The family-owned-and-operated shop brews sumptuous gourmet coffee and espresso while serving a plethora of sweet treats and tasty baked goods. Ordered weekly, Meg's coffee is always fresh and many are certified organic, with tempting roasts such as sugar plum berry, white chocolate mousse, and butter pecan ($1.55–$1.78 per cup). Meg's array of caffeinated concoctions includes blended smoothies, iced coffees, cappuccinos, and chai teas, covering the full range of the caffeine rainbow. Meg's menu features several fresh pastries and light lunches, including the ham and cheddar sandwich or feta-cheese-topped Meg's special salad. Visitors can indulge in a blueberry muffin ($1.97) while melting the icicles off their antlers in front of the fireplace at their Alpine location.

1141 N Alpine Rd
Rockford,
IL
US

Synthesizing favorite American pastimes and biological necessities such as eating, drinking, and taking in live jazz music, Garrett’s boasts a large fare menu as well as an expansive selection of wine, beer, and spirits. Diners can savor starters such as dynamite shrimp ($8.99), or save them to blast their way into the car later in case they lose their keys. Entrees include the fresh veggie-jammed jambalaya ($16.99) and the grilled lemon-basil chicken breast ($16.99), whose subtle spices are equally effective at taming tongues and agitating eyeballs. Many draft beers are served in brewer-created glassware so that hops-chasers don’t have to sip from suds-dispensing helmets, and a few glasses of Mexican red Valmar Tempranillo ($10/glass; $39/bottle) work great for loosening up mouth muscles before meaty main events.

1631 N Bell School Rd
Rockford,
IL
US

Cuppa Java's certified baristas brew up a menu of gourmet coffee drinks, fresh-baked pastries, and other nibbleable noshes. A signature Cuppa Java mocha ($3.80 for a regular, $4.15 for a large) caffeinates with a tongue-thrilling blend of white mocha, espresso, steamed milk, and swirls of caramel, as does an Americano ($1.85 for a regular, $1.95 for a large), infused with one of more than 20 DaVinci syrup flavors ($.45 for each flavor shot).

809 Cannel Puri Dr
Winnebago,
IL
US

Dandy Donuts Coffee Cafe and Lunch Spot offers a wide variety of options for Breakfast and Lunch. New England Coffees, Frozen Hot Chocolate and blended drinks, Fruit Smoothies, fresh oatmeal, Uncle Muggs Biscuits and Gravy-served all day! Fresh Bagels and Spreads. Boar's Head soups, fresh salads, Cheesecake Factory & more!

6551 E Riverside Blvd
Rockford,
IL
US

Flavors such as salted caramel, Bananas Foster, and chocolate-covered strawberry infuse the specialty lattes at Paradise Java & Ice, a café that the Cutler family opened in July 2013. Patrons can also sip fresh smoothies and or savor a signature treat—Hawaiian-style shaved ice. “[It's] kind of like a dreamsicle because the flavor from the ice drips and melts down into the ice cream,” Dan Cutler said of the dessert during an interview with Beloit Daily News. Rustic blond-wood furniture lines the café, and a cozy lounge area invites patrons to study, read, or connect to complimentary WiFi.

5312 Williams Drive
Roscoe,
IL
US