Cafes in Loves Park

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The family-owned-and-operated shop brews sumptuous gourmet coffee and espresso while serving a plethora of sweet treats and tasty baked goods. Ordered weekly, Meg's coffee is always fresh and many are certified organic, with tempting roasts such as sugar plum berry, white chocolate mousse, and butter pecan ($1.55–$1.78 per cup). Meg's array of caffeinated concoctions includes blended smoothies, iced coffees, cappuccinos, and chai teas, covering the full range of the caffeine rainbow. Meg's menu features several fresh pastries and light lunches, including the ham and cheddar sandwich or feta-cheese-topped Meg's special salad. Visitors can indulge in a blueberry muffin ($1.97) while melting the icicles off their antlers in front of the fireplace at their Alpine location.

1141 N Alpine Rd
Rockford,
IL
US

Synthesizing favorite American pastimes and biological necessities such as eating, drinking, and taking in live jazz music, Garrett’s boasts a large fare menu as well as an expansive selection of wine, beer, and spirits. Diners can savor starters such as dynamite shrimp ($8.99), or save them to blast their way into the car later in case they lose their keys. Entrees include the fresh veggie-jammed jambalaya ($16.99) and the grilled lemon-basil chicken breast ($16.99), whose subtle spices are equally effective at taming tongues and agitating eyeballs. Many draft beers are served in brewer-created glassware so that hops-chasers don’t have to sip from suds-dispensing helmets, and a few glasses of Mexican red Valmar Tempranillo ($10/glass; $39/bottle) work great for loosening up mouth muscles before meaty main events.

1631 N Bell School Rd
Rockford,
IL
US

Cuppa Java's certified baristas brew up a menu of gourmet coffee drinks, fresh-baked pastries, and other nibbleable noshes. A signature Cuppa Java mocha ($3.80 for a regular, $4.15 for a large) caffeinates with a tongue-thrilling blend of white mocha, espresso, steamed milk, and swirls of caramel, as does an Americano ($1.85 for a regular, $1.95 for a large), infused with one of more than 20 DaVinci syrup flavors ($.45 for each flavor shot).

809 Cannel Puri Dr
Winnebago,
IL
US

Dandy Donuts Coffee Cafe and Lunch Spot offers a wide variety of options for Breakfast and Lunch. New England Coffees, Frozen Hot Chocolate and blended drinks, Fruit Smoothies, fresh oatmeal, Uncle Muggs Biscuits and Gravy-served all day! Fresh Bagels and Spreads. Boar's Head soups, fresh salads, Cheesecake Factory & more!

6551 E Riverside Blvd
Rockford,
IL
US

Flavors such as salted caramel, Bananas Foster, and chocolate-covered strawberry infuse the specialty lattes at Paradise Java & Ice, a café that the Cutler family opened in July 2013. Patrons can also sip fresh smoothies and or savor a signature treat—Hawaiian-style shaved ice. “[It's] kind of like a dreamsicle because the flavor from the ice drips and melts down into the ice cream,” Dan Cutler said of the dessert during an interview with Beloit Daily News. Rustic blond-wood furniture lines the café, and a cozy lounge area invites patrons to study, read, or connect to complimentary WiFi.

5312 Williams Drive
Roscoe,
IL
US

The gyro yielders at Kronos Gyros & Café combine authentically Greek ingredients to prepare fresh and flavorful Mediterranean pitas and gyros and salads as well as local specialties. Mediterranean munching commences with the gyros platter, stacked with seasoned meat, rice pilaf, hummus, warm pita wedges, and a choice of salad ($7.49). Flatbread pizza crust keeps a low profile beneath the show-stealing combo of toppings on the barbecue chicken pizza ($5.99), including chopped chicken, tomato, onion, barbecue sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Local specialties offer flavors as familiar as the back of your hand tattooed with your monogram, including the Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dog ($2.49) and Maxwell Street polish sausage ($3.99). Celebrate sweet victory over hunger with honey and granola-filled greek yogurt ($1.50) or flaky baklava ($1).

2510 Pearl St
Belvidere,
IL
US