You might say Nu Cafe is leading a double life. During the day, it's a classic neighborhood hangout, serving up simple, fresh wraps and sandwiches alongside a variety of smoothies and juices and espresso and coffee drinks. By night, it transforms into a hipper, slightly more sophisticated version of itself, a place where guests can come to mingle, not over their laptops, but around shared tapas plates, cured meat and cheese boards, and a selection of wine and craft beers. But regardless of the time of day, a few things remain the same: the vibe is always laid-back and friendly, the food is always crafted using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and the Wi-Fi is always free. And, adding to the community-oriented vibe, the cafes also host regular recurring events, including live piano players, painting parties, and chess groups.
At Blush Yogurt Cafe, patrons can have their cake and eat it too, enjoying more than 30 flavors of kosher frozen yogurt that contains no gluten, fat, cholesterol, or preservatives. Flavors run the gamut from caramel and watermelon to pumpkin and green tea, each of which is sprinkled with up to 20 toppings such as coconut, brownie bites, and honeydew melon. The staff also stuffs pork and tofu into spring rolls, slathers ham with cranberry sauce in a wrap, and handpicks the seaweed salad’s contents during annual trips to Seaweed World.
Honey Dew Donuts founder Dick Bowen didn’t expect anything special to happen one winter morning in 1978. He simply arrived at his shop in Plainville, greeted his co-baker, and waited for the day's customers. Instead, what showed up was a devastating storm, known henceforth as the Blizzard of '78. The two bakers were snowed in and had nobody to serve their signature donuts to. Making the best of an unfortunate situation, they began experimenting in the kitchen and ultimately came up with the cinnamon stick, a helix of cinnamon and fried dough that would help their business reach even greater levels of popularity.
The snow ultimately melted, and Honey Dew Donuts went on to open several additional locations throughout New England. In addition to Bowen's signature cinnamon sticks, each shop serves steamy coffee drinks, freshly baked muffins, and dozens of other donut varieties.
Cafe Burrito's crew stuffs tortillas with ingredients such as chili-lime chicken, cotija cheese, and zesty pickled veggies to craft its hefty Mission-style burritos, which epitomize the handheld meal. The menu also features other creative fare, such as Mexican-style grilled-cheese sandwiches, which showcase cheese melted over pork carnitas or pulled barbecue chicken, and pickled veggies. Diners can also top their food with special-made salsas crafted from fruits such as peach or apple, which rotate monthly to keep palates surprised.
McKinney and Burbach Tavern serves up a menu of hearty pub fare. Start off with an appetizer such as dragon (chicken) wings, served plain, buffalo style, or slathered in barbecue sauce, with spice-stifling celery and blue cheese ($8); or choose skewers with your choice of pork or chicken, or a combination of each, served grilled on a shrunken hunting spear ($9). For dinner, choose a traditional pub entree such as the great all-american burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion lounging on a mattress of ground beef served on a roll with a side of fries or M&B slaw ($7), or a more exotic favorite such as the chicken caesar a parmesan cheese-ordained courtship of grilled chicken and romaine lettuce nobly drizzled in caesar dressing and served on a roll or in edible wrapping paper ($8). To appease the hoggishly persnickety circumvallate papillae taste buddies, McKinney and Burbach will be expanding their pub menu after the New Year.
Brr Mix A-Lot's baristas concoct coffee drinks, smoothies, and bubble tea in a cafe with pale blue walls and a rounded white counter. Customers can personalize these drinks with add-ins such as green-tea jelly or tapioca pearls. For a savory pairing, try a bánh mì sandwich piled with chicken, steak or pork.