On weekdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., cooks at Better Lunch stack sandwiches with sumptuous ingredients: chicken spread with cranberries and almonds, salami with carrots and Italian sauce, and signature egg and pickle salad are just a few examples. Diners can also opt for the soup of the day, or for a crisp salad with all the fixings.
Isis Hookah Lounge elevates the experience of dining with friends by adding flavored tobacco to the mix. In the lounge, red plush chairs surround a central table with one or two hookahs, allowing regular access to smoke flavored like pumpkin pie, cranberry-lime, or mint. To complement the hookah, servers deliver appetizers such as paninis, hummus bowls, fruit tarts, and tiramisu. They complete the Middle Eastern ritual with glasses of Moroccan tea and strong batches of coffee, which can be enriched with hazelnut and cinnamon or softened with a splash of milk, vanilla, or cotton balls.
Pearlescent orbs of tapioca settle to the bottom of freshly poured bubble, or boba, tea at Chibi's Inc. These chewy bubbles float around mango, orange, lychee, and green apple flavored tea, which shares space on Chibi's menu with hot coffee, specialty espresso drinks, and indulgent desserts. Customers order at a bright orange and teal counter, whose color scheme traverses the Asian-themed café outfitted with indoor and outdoor seating as well as free WiFi. Under a wall-mounted TV, glittering glass cases display Japanese figurines and a newly captured Pikachu.
Italia by Café Noam offers Italian-style café eats, including an assortment of baked goods. Customers can grab a cup of Lavazza coffee and espresso for a jolt of energy to hopscotch across the outdoor patio. Stop in for a scoop of gelato, which comes in a range of flavors, including mango, tiramisu, and cookies and cream.
Upon walking into Purple Orchid Cafe & World Grocery, it’s not uncommon to witness Nisa Fanou or her daughter, Sonia, warmly greeting regulars, introducing themselves to newcomers, or snapping photographs of grinning guests. They do more than just offer salutations, though. When the friendly mother and daughter aren’t fraternizing with customers, they’re folding fresh ingredients into authentic Thai curries, noodles, and rice dishes. They adorn plates with the likes of steamed dumplings, red curry with bamboo shoots, and pad Thai noodles with tamarind sauce.
To quell the kick of some of the spicier dishes, Nisa and Sonia offer sweet Thai iced tea and fruits topped with shaved ice, flavored syrup, and milk. They also peddle a variety of groceries and pastries that hail from all over, from fruity soda from Mexico to hovering cupcakes from the future.