At Cafe Caffe Gourmet, chefs put an American spin on a number of culinary genres to create diner-style entrees for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Named after U.S. cities and states, burgers rise like edible skyscrapers to accommodate 8-ounce Angus patties and toppings such as crumbled blue cheese, garlic aoli, or caramelized onions. Alongside the marble-and-wood coffee bar, guests can sip espresso drinks and munch classic griddle cakes and eggs. The restaurant touts its dinner buffet, an all-you-can-eat feast open throughout the day and stationed prominently in the cheerful yellow dining room. A row of sconces add a warm ambiance to the restaurant, illuminating menus and love letters spelled out in fettuccine.
When Kevin Brennan bought his first vinyl at the age of 7, he dreamed of a future that would somehow revolve around rock 'n' roll. Brennan's entrepreneurial spirit led him on a quest for the next "big thing" as an adult, and he dabbled in various ventures before having an epiphany while traveling in 1989. He was in San Diego, and he visited his first coffeehouse.
Kevin fell in love with the simple coffeehouse concept and had a feeling that gourmet coffee shops would soon become a craze across the nation. He instantly knew that he had found his calling, but it wasn't until he sipped coffee while watching an Asia concert that he knew what would set his establishment apart from the rest: rock 'n' roll.
Today, his trio of shops showcases the marriage of a laid-back coffee-shop vibe with rock music and memorabilia, creating a caffeinated love child in a Led Zeppelin onesie. Each location also features rock-inspired drinks, such as the Van Halen and the Dark Side of the Moo, joined by sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.
NY Bagel Cafe & Deli's kitchen bakes its bagels fresh every day, fueling a savory expansion to locations across seven states. At the Newark site, a glass case displays doughy circles infused with ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes and blueberries. Patrons can opt to decorate their bagels or the eatery's pumpkin-colored walls with cream-cheese spreads flavored with scallions, bacon, and strawberries. In addition, deli sandwiches enfold Boar's Head–brand meats and cheeses in italian bread, wraps, or rolls.
Tapping into the storied tradition of Lebanese baking, Zen Bakeries lets customers sample the fruits of a wood-fired brick oven in the form of artisanal flatbread and pita treats. Patrons can choose from either white or whole wheat for nearly all of the baked morsels. The shop's kitchen wizards mix and knead both varieties daily, ensuring that outdated dough such as yesterday's pita and two-dollar bills have no place in this world. Early risers can stop by for a freshly baked egg-and-cheese pita pie ($3.50) or side with sweet in its epic battle against savory by ordering an eye-opening Nutella-and-banana pita pie ($1.50–$3.50).
Every day, Breadsmith kneads and breeds made-from-scratch breads, honoring the practices of centuries-old French bakers. The delectable dough sculptures receive the royal treatment, with all delicate yeast bubbles bursting inside of a 6-ton stone-hearth oven. The oven's sweltering heat creates a cushy crust for American-style breads. In the presence of lightning-quick steam injections, European-style breads take on a crisp, crumb-dressed outer core. Daily bread offerings range from $3.95 to $8.50 a loaf and include French baguettes ($3.95), Russian rye ($5.95), sourdough ($5.25), raisin walnut ($6.95), and pepperoni bread ($8.50). Use today's Groupon to fill up the family with lusciously leavened loaves fresh from the oven—or wait for them to go stale and then wield them as harpoons during the next potato-soup hunt.