The owners of North End Café don't just purchase local produce: they also grow vegetables and herbs in their own garden in Simpsonville. Since April, 2003, their chefs have championed this focus on local, seasonal ingredients with a healthy approach to cooking. North End Café's menu features traditional meals from around the world, ranging from grass-fed beef burgers and flatiron steaks to grilled fish and scallops to vegetarian lasagnas, stir-fry, and cakes. For sharing, chefs build eclectic small plates such as crab cakes, fried goat-cheese ravioli, and almond-crusted brie. They also prepare a range of vegan and gluten-free dishes, taking care to avoid the pyrotechnics that result when steak and tofu touch.
To accompany these meals, bartenders pour American and international wines, and blend cocktails from fruit and old-fashioned ingredients. At the Highlands location, a brand-new tap system spouts 23 craft beers, including imperial IPAs and peppery black porters. In warmer months, the aromas of cooking and laughter of clientele also fill the Highlands location's new outdoor patio, an expansive wooden deck surrounded by leafy plants and tall, wispy trees.
A mere scone's throw from the boutiques, art galleries, and upscale restaurants of Frankfort Avenue, Nancy Haner Grantz lures diners with aromas of Columbia River Coffees and fresh-baked muffins. Inside her shop, more than 13 bagel varieties—including spinach feta and rosemary parmesan—join forces with unique cream cheeses of jalapeño and honey walnut. Flavorful sandwiches and whole-wheat wraps complement Nancy's homemade soups, which are served hot during the winter season, chilled during summer months, and frozen during Ice Ages.
Cooks at Crave Cafe & Catering build a menu of salads, wraps, and triple-decker club sandwiches for dine-in and catering. In their kitchen, they fill spinach wraps with grilled chicken and pesto mayo and heat up honey ham and brie or swiss cheese and bacon between slices of warm ciabatta bread. Crave Cafe & Catering also features a rotating menu of three to four homemade soups made fresh every day.
Emily Peters, of Emma Lou's Cafe, transformed a historic 100-year-old home into a café and vintage boutique. Inside the first floor's dining room, servers deliver a rotating menu of café fare which has included mixed-greens salads tossed with mandarin oranges, fresh strawberries, and pecans and warm ham-and-brie sandwiches nestled between slices of ciabatta bread. Patrons may peruse vintage finds including jewelry, furniture, and postcards in the boutique area or meander out to the back courtyard on sunny days.
The menu at Life Bar is designed to keep bodies humming at optimal levels?whether increasing energy, shedding a few pounds, or looking for a vitamin boost. Starting with 100% plant-based super-food smoothies, staffers blend a healthful mix of coconut milk, raw honey, and all organic produce such as ginger and organic pineapple. Add on individual boosters for an extra kick of antioxidants, proteins, or vitamins; bee pollen to promote longevity; and hemp-seed protein to promote healthy cholesterol levels. Customers on the go may use the online app to pre-order drinks.
A host of savory Mediterranean dishes fill plates at Eat a Pita, where cooks whip up dishes such as the Jerusalem, a fresh-sliced eggplant skillfully fried and surrounded by warm pita. Meaty gyros arrive in regular or Hercules sizes, as do Philly cheese steaks that sneak onto the international menu. Other entrees include grilled chicken kabobs with mushrooms and green peppers.