The day starts early at Great Harvest Bread Co., where grain gurus Blake, Mike, Sharon, and Darrel bake loaf after loaf of all-natural, housemade bread. Each batch of dough begins with freshly ground whole-wheat flour milled from family-owned farms in Montana. Salt, yeast, and local honey soon follow. By 9:30 a.m., the crew start pulling their first loaves from the oven, handing out warm, complimentary slices to customers as they enter the store. The bread schedule changes every day, but patrons can always purchase any of the shop’s mainstays: honey whole wheat, white, nine grain, cinnamon swirl, cheese garlic and cinnamon chip.
The breads can surely stand alone, but that doesn’t stop Great Harvest Bread Co. from offering hand-crafted sandwiches stacked with ham, turkey, or chicken and three types of cheese. For dessert or a sweet breakfast, patrons can choose from a variety of scones, giant cinnamon rolls or muffins, or—if they're kids or adults disguised as kids—score cookies on the house.
Before Paul and Jared Smith came onboard, the company that became Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Co. had no coffee to speak of: it only sold chocolate by the bag, box, or individual morsel. But the brothers recognized how well their rich chocolates complemented a hot cup of joe, and by 2004 they started roasting their own beans. Today, those yield coffees such as the Black & Tan, a combination of dark and light roasts, and the Honduran High Grown, which is harvested on the wings of airplanes.
The coffees add a jolt to Great Lakes’ hot drinks, including seasonal selections such as the egg nog latte. Organic and decaf teas, as well as cold beverages such as frozen lemonade and fruit smoothies, round out the shop’s drinkable options, all of which complement this family owned and run business’ stock of sweet treats.
Since 1935, employee-owned Paramount Coffee has fired up roasters daily to infuse beans with rich, fresh flavor, now shipping a range of organic, fair-trade, flavored, and local brands to households nationwide. Seeking both quality beans and quality businesses, Paramount's coffee-curators source their aromatic offerings from around the world. A medium roast, the organic and fair trade Peru beans finish with a slightly sweet aftertaste ($8.99/10 oz.). The subtle chocolate flavor and hints of spice of fair trade Rwanda coffee reach mugs thanks to a partnership between Paramount Coffee, Michigan State University, and Rwandan farmers ($9.19/12 oz.). Bulk coffee such as the Ann Arbor Blend ($44.50/5 lbs.) fuels all-night study sessions and marathon slip 'n' slide tournaments, while Paramount’s own flavored coffees fill kitchens with the scents of blueberry muffins, coffee cake, and pumpkin pie ($8.99+/12 oz.).
Drawing from a diverse well of organic fair-trade coffees and dozens of syrup flavors, the bouncy baristas of Decker's Coffee Company pour out a multifarious menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and italian sodas alongside sandwiches, wraps, soups, and baked goods. Create your own smoothie or Deckachino with flavors such as gingerbread, amaretto, and sugar-free irish cream or prepare for winter by stockpiling warm, creamy white-mocha lattes in your backyard tree fort ($3.39–$4.19). Cold or hot, solo sandwiches ($5.59) join forces with chips, a pickle, and a 20-ounce soda in combination meals ($6.99) and count among their ranks luscious options such as honey ham with smoked gouda and a veggie wrap with swiss, cucumbers, and red-pepper basil. Chicken quesadillas loaded with onion, tomato, and green bell peppers ($5.59) flip off the griddle with the practiced grace of a Soviet gymnast, and the house salad ($3.77) comes drenched in dressings including golden italian, fat-free raspberry vinaigrette, or caesar.
Unlike jerk-chicken pudding or fried-tuna Twinkies, ice cream makes for a delectable dessert that properly caps off any meal. At Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery, patrons can sample a huge menu of ice cream and other treats that are sure to slap a smile on any face and massage taste buds with sugary strokes. Try ice cream in flavor combinations such as Strawberry Skateboard with sprinkles, gummy bears, and marshmallows, or Cotton Candy Ski Jump with M&Ms and mini-marshmallows. Prices range from $3.39 to $6.79 for a cup or cone. Dream cakes ($24.95+), on the other hand, come in appropriately oneiric flavors such as Maggie's Mud and Chocolate Heaven, and are available in 6-inch, 8-inch, and sheet-cake sizes. Health-conscious hedonists can indulge in strawberry-banana, creamy mango, and mocha coffee smoothies (starting at $4.75), whereas ice-cream pizzas ($19.95+) topped with white-chocolate curls will perplex pizza-party attendees before blasting away reservations with deliciousness.