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.).
A mid-Michigan institution since 1929, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra performs for more than 20,000 visitors every year. Music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt currently leads its roster of professional musicians in concerts that explore a variety of musical styles, including classical masterworks, a pops and chamber series, and brassy big-band engagements.