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.
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.
Painted depictions of giant orange slices, strawberries, and cups of coffee grace the pale blue walls inside Off The Wall Caf?. Tables with red seating and a long countertop flanked by bright blue stools host platefuls of fluffy omelets, biscuits, and 10 kinds of skillets. During lunch hours, the grills heat up for burgers and specialty fries, including parmesan-garlic fries and sweet-potato fries with a honey-cinnamon-butter dip.
One of the best BLTs in Madison doesn't have bacon on it. Dubbed the TLT, Jennie Capellaro's meat-free version swaps out the pork for strips of tempeh, a type of cultured soy. The sandwich's smoky flavor won over the critics of 77 Square, claiming Best BLT honors in 2010. PETA named it one of the country's best vegan BLTs in 2012. And in 2013, it was named "Favorite Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant" by The Daily Page.
Jennie and her team at The Green Owl Cafe strive to similarly surprise their diners by coaxing out unexpected flavors from their vegetarian and vegan dishes. Championing freshness, they prefer to work with local suppliers, such as Blue Skies Berry Farm and Sprouting Acres. They also throw monthly raw nights, treating guests to prix fixe dinners comprised of all raw courses. Jennie matches her menu's celebration of nature with a rustic, wood-paneled interior and an outdoor patio where diners can catch the free vitamin-D capsules regularly tossed down by the sun.
Owner Lance Ratze named Yola’s Café for his Grandma Yola, a sensational cook who hoped to own a cafe but passed away before realizing her dream. She did come close, though. In addition to filling her kitchen with restaurant equipment, she piled her basement's ping-pong table high with roast beef, waffles, and pies so as to serve as many people as possible.
Today, Yola's aims to recreate its namesake's hospitality by filling stomachs with baked goods. By lunch, artisans dole out sandwiches, salads, and soups to sate midday cravings. As they dine, grownups peruse a rotating selection of local artwork, while kids play with the cafe's toys, board games, and an old tin can.
Though inspired by the northern California caf?s of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan?s modern coffee drinkers?in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.