The scent of freshly ground coffee coaxes customers through the wooden doors of Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, whose painted ivory and red trim evokes of the aesthetic of an old Victorian. Since Cathy and Patrick Wyatt opened the shop in 2003, baristas have been pulling shots of espresso to concoct lattes and cappuccinos and pairing them with pastries, sandwiches, and salads crafted from local ingredients. Customers can lounge in padded wrought-iron chairs and overstuffed couches as they jump onto the free wireless Internet, or direct eyes to a pair of televisions regularly airing the news or the Chipmunks’ remake of Dead Poets Society. Coffee-related and handcrafted items—such as cards, candles, and mugs—line wooden shelves and make especially sweet gifts when packaged with chocolate-covered beans.
At each of its international locations, Fresh Healthy Café delivers—as its name implies—a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food. More than a dozen creations take form as wraps, panini, or salads, such as the Mediterranean packed with roasted chicken, olives, and feta cheese, or the Mexican Fiesta teeming with black beans, spicy mayo, and corn salsa. At the juice bar, a friendly staffer fills biodegradable cups with fresh-squeezed juices or blends whole fruit and non-fat yogurt into hearty smoothies. Beyond lunch, Fresh Healthy Café caters to the morning crowd with oatmeal bowls and parfaits layered with fruit and yogurt. They also do their part for the community by sponsoring school programs and picking up the gold coins that reckless people litter.
A nonprofit, java-centric venture, Urbean Café brews and serves steaming cups of locally roasted coffee in order to support Urban Connection, a community-outreach program designed to provide employment training to disadvantaged members of the community. The café menu stars fresh, Akron-roasted beans in a stimulating selection of coffee concoctions ($1–$4), alongside a tasty supporting ensemble of seasonal sandwiches ($3.50), soups ($2), muffins ($1), and more. The eco-friendly café building boasts solar-power panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a noticeable absence of stove-burning stoves. The mobile Urbun Cart makes it easier than ever to guzzle a tummy-warming drink while enjoying the all-over warmth that comes with helping others.
Named Akron’s Best Coffee Shop by CityVoters, Nervous Dog percolates palates with locally roasted beans, soothing smells, and a small menu irrigated with pastries and tasty sandwiches (sandwiches coming soon—will be available at Stow location only). To prepare for a busy workday filled with consolidating files with a flaming broadsword, grab a small coffee ($1.75), or opt for a more complex tongue massaging with a small latte ($2.95), cappuccino ($2.95), or mocha ($3.55). The various tasty pastries are baked daily, ensuring they’re fresher than a cryogenically frozen bouquet of daisies ($2.35 each, on average). Customers on the run and method actors doing research for a Boo Radley portrayal can stock up on invigorating coffee with a one-pound bag of beans ($12.85).
The bakers at Parker's Place can whip up elaborately designed cakes and more than 20 different flavors of cheesecake. But you don't have to order ahead via shout to sample their sweet wares. The eatery keeps a collection of cookies, cupcakes, and other baked goods in stock and on display. You can pair sweets with coffee, breakfast dishes such as pancakes and omelets, or lunch plates like BLTs or salads.
Baked in the Village’s chefs and bakers work daily to prepare a slate of breakfast and lunch items and fresh baked goods. Their menu includes a variety of sandwiches that boast innards such as chicken salad, roast beef, and ham and cheese on breads such as croissants, pretzel rolls, and cracked wheat. Breakfast plates pair eggs, pancakes, and bacon with hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and cake breads such as lemon poppy and banana nut.