Since its inception as a home-décor boutique in 1987, Country Keepsakes Tea Room has rotated a roster of first-rate comfort food in a cozy, familial setting. Eclectic tablecloths and warm lighting complement the comforting menu, which, like Monday’s placement in the sequence of days, changes every week. Chef Beverly Bruce assembles the Keepsake quiche by filling a potato crust with broccoli, ham, and cheese, then sending it to tables on side-dish wings made of tossed salad and freshly baked bread ($8.79). Tuck into a classic with the chicken-fried chicken, a pan-fried chicken breast accompanied by gravy-drenched mashed potatoes and green beans ($9). Polish off a noontime meal with a sweet item from the rotating dessert menu, including the luscious, always-available triple-lemon pie.
In the Middle Cupcakes bakes spongy, gooey treats from scratch, and every mini cake encircles a melty surprise within its fluffy layers. Solicit the newly opened store's bakers for a 12-pack of moist morsels, many of which contain cocoa imported from Holland and France and real vanilla beans. The bakery boasts seasonal options and a regular menu populated by such creations as the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough cupcake—a velvety brown-sugar cake with eggless chocolate-chip cookie dough, cookie-dough buttercream, and a mini chocolate-chip cookie hat. The carrot-cake cupcake sports a raisin-and-walnut filling topped with rich cream-cheese frosting. The red-velvet creation teams red-velvet cake with a premium white-chocolate-chip center and a dense cream-cheese frosting, and the lemon cupcake—light lemon cake, white-chocolate-chip filling, lemon-buttercream frosting, sugar crystals, and a white daisy—reminds any close friend that lemonade isn't the only solution when life gives you tart citrus.
Owner Teresa Poppinga whips up micro-batches in-house to ensure fresh, high-quality ice creams, stocking the shop's glass freezer case with a wide variety of rotating flavors and used glow sticks. Unexpected scoops have included everything from cake batter and cinnamon bun to lemon cookie and Grape-Nuts. Poppy's also carries sorbet flavors and frozen custard crafted from whole eggs and a 10% milk-fat base. The Petite Summit Sampler (five mini-scoops, $3) paints your taste buds with a Crayola box full of flavors. Flavor monogamists can get their fix in a homemade waffle cone ($.60 for plain, $1 for chocolate dipped) or sugar cone ($2.35 for a single dip, two dips for $3.35). For a spoonable sweet, peruse the sundae menu's offerings, like the old-fashioned Slow Sundae (from $3.25 for small) lacquered in hot fudge and caramel and studded with pecans and a cherry on top. Continue to satiate a sweet tooth with parfaits, malts, shakes, and concretes, creamy blends of vanilla frozen custard and toppings like buttery pretzel bits and coconut shavings.
To create the ultimate hot bean juice, Bruegger's has teamed up with Green Mountain Coffee, which deftly wields the double-edged sword of rich, flavorful coffee and socially responsible fair-trade practices. Bruegger's coffee menu offers a slurpable rainbow of classic brews and unusual, globetrotting options ($1.59 for a small). Relish region-specific flavors and aromas from the misty hilltops of Tanzania, the lush farms of Mexico, or the turbulent moons of Endor. Membership in the Bottomless Mug Club also ensures free refills of steamy chai tea and hot chocolate (both $1.79 for a small), soft drinks ($1.59 for a small), and an assortment of hot teas ($1.39 for a small) for java-less jaunts. Although today's Groupon does not cover food, Bruegger's offers delectable deli eats to pair with your bottomless beverages, including kettle-boiled bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch fare.
Kolache Factory takes its namesake traditionally fruit-filled Eastern European pastry and expands its filling horizons to stretch from breakfast to dinner. Though some breakfast kolaches still contain the standard fruit fillings, such as lemon, strawberry, and apricot, they’re joined by more creative combinations such as sausage and cheese or chocolate cream cheese. Lunch and dinner pastries hold hearts of polish sausage, barbecue beef, and jalapeno cheddar. Kolache Factory also bakes other pastries including cinnamon rolls and strudel and sells party trays of its signature creations for gatherings or Y3K freezer stockpiles.