Umami is a portal into an aromatic world of freshly roasted gourmet coffees and exotic, premium loose-leaf teas. Tea samples are available every day so that customers can try before they buy, but knowledgeable staff members are also on hand to explain which teas flaunt specific health benefits. Opt for blended wellness teas, such as the cold-and-flu fighter, which contains echinacea and elderflowers, or sip diet tea blends that boost metabolism. Patrons can cruise the Net on complimentary WiFi while noshing on a baby spinach salad crowned with feta and fruity vinaigrette dressing ($6.95), or tame a full-force grumblestorm with hearty sandwiches and homemade desserts. Umami also offers teatime packages that include tastings of different teas, sandwich samples, assorted pastries, and more ($10.99–$15.99 per person).
The enticing aromas of housemade cupcakes and fried sweet-potato pies waft from Slice of Grace Bakery Boutique’s kitchen, where a team of bakers concocts new variations on traditional Southern treats. Their penchant for integrating unusual flavors into old-fashioned desserts has earned them national attention on programs such as The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Cupcake Wars.
The bakery’s recent surge in popularity hasn’t changed its formula for success; the bakers still start from scratch early each morning, filling the shop’s display case with frosting-swirled cupcakes in flavors such as strawberry shortcake, chocolate peanut butter, and maple-bacon cider topped with sprinkles of actual bacon. Fans of the miniature treats can build their own full-size cake, as the bakery’s gallery of custom creations will attest. Aside from their flagship cakes and fluffy whoopie pies, boxed lunches with a sandwich, a choice of side, a cupcake, and utensils for mixing all three together offer a change of pace.
Stir Crazy Cafe outfits its quaint dining room and sun-soaked patio with all the accouterments for a cozy afternoon. Baristas brew steaming cups of Rostov's coffee and Black Hand espresso drinks. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cooks fill the shop with the scent of pastries, wraps, and sandwiches, all of which pair nicely with the selection of wines and beers. Giving guests all the incentive they need to leave room for dessert, they also serve up Pearl's Cupcakes and a collection of fresh pies.
Unique Hutchinson, the owner of Jazzy Petite Treats, specializes in miniature versions of popular snacks and baked goodies. Her menu includes delicious sweets such as cookie balls, as well as cake balls and cake pops that come in 10 delectable flavors, such as carrot, red velvet, lemon dream, and coconut bliss. Her specialty Jazzy Push Pops showcase layers of moist cake interspersed with layers of frosting, which the eater can push up through a push-pop container to eat by hand.
In existence for more than 60 years, The Dairy Bar maintains its cozy, neighborhood feel while dishing out a menu of delectable desserts, sandwiches, and more. The Dairy Bar’s creamy milkshakes, which were voted Best Local Milkshakes in 2009 by Richmond magazine, follow a simple, time-tested recipe of local Garber’s ice cream and 2% milk. Each shake is chilled to 32 degrees and infused with strawberry, mocha, or mint-chip flavor spirits, producing a euphoric effect akin to seeing a child laugh or watching a mermaid break-dance. The Dairy Bar's café fare shows support for neighboring businesses, featuring Hanover tomatoes and Cupertino’s bagels in handcrafted breakfast sandwiches and hearty burgers.
Pizzas festooned with meatballs, fingerling potatoes, and Buffalo mozzarella cheese bake to a golden finish inside a 900-degree wood-fired oven. The chefs also wood-fire salmon wrapped in prosciutto di parma and peach-glazed pork tenderloin inside the kitchen at Baker’s Crust. Handholds include a fried egg, bacon, and cheddar burger and a grilled meatloaf Panini. In addition to flipping omelets and flapjacks on the griddle (the Short Pump location is now serving breakfast), the chefs bake their own preservative-free breads in flavors such as roasted garlic, cinnamon, jalapeno and cheddar, and multigrain.
Each morning, Montana Gold Bread Co.'s bakers make their way to a stone burr mill where they grind red wheat from a farm in Montana into flour. That flour goes into dough that they knead by hand before baking it into preservative-free breads such as cherry-apple challah or honey whole wheat. They carve loaves into slices for sandwiches with housemade chicken salad or roast beef and horseradish. Patrons can also find sweet treats such as pecan-encrusted cinnamon rolls and fresh cookies.