As a military cook, Marcel Townsel spent three years preparing hot meals and coffee in the field. He had to feed troops quickly and efficiently, and leave them fueled up enough to tackle the day's tasks. In establishing Bungalow Joe's Coffee right where the Metra stops each day, Marcel draws upon the experience of serving in a high-pressure environment, swiftly turning out cups for fast-advancing hoards of a similarly demanding ilk:commuters. Having learned long ago that good food needs a fresh foundation, Marcel starts every cup of coffee with filtered water, and he pairs every pastry with a napkin freshly plucked from the napkin tree. Whether it's a cup of classic, French roast, hazelnut, or espresso, Marcel concocts it with his signature blend of epicureanism and hard-won pragmatism?and has it in the customer's hands long before the train pulls into the station.
Great American Bagel Burr Ridge's family-owned bakery doles out dozens of its fresh-made dough discs from its brand-new location. Each bagel is mixed from scratch and steam-baked every day for maximum chewiness. The ring bearers also offer catering services, with platters for business meetings and wedding cakes made entirely from bagels slathered in cream cheese.
Working in collaboration with government organizations, TeaGschwendner helped build a factory that processes tea for 130 small farmers. That's just one of the ways TeaGschwendner ensures social and environmental responsibility. Read more here.
Though the team at Earth's Healing Cafe strives to respect all diets with their organic, vegan, raw-foods menu, there's nothing they respect more than Mother Earth. Their highest priority is using completely natural, organic foods, even if that means opting to import produce from elsewhere in the Americas. Even so, they still manage to procure at least half of their ingredients locally.
The core of the menu is the juices and smoothies, each of which is designed to support and replenish various organs and body functions. For instance, My Digestion is Perfect settles the stomach with a calming blend of celery, carrot, fennel, ginger, and mint. The live, whole-food smoothies come in varieties such as the River Nile, a sweet mixture that includes coconut milk, mango, blueberries, dates, almond butter and vanilla. The entrees are plant-based as well, including pizza with marinated mushrooms, red bell pepper, olives, and spinach, a garden burger made with a savory veggie and seed patty, and a carrot pate sandwich with a side of coleslaw.
After roasting coffee beans with his family in Pakistan, Arshad "Sony" Javid—founder of Café Descartes—indulged his love for the caffeinated drink by making pilgrimages to coffee houses in Asia, Europe, and South and Central America. In 1991, after a stint as a Starbucks barista, Sony opened his first shop, an espresso cart on the UIC campus, where he poured his decadent drinks to quench the thirst of students, professors, and dry textbooks. Today, the aficionado’s dream has expanded across six Chicago cafés, where warm, earth-toned walls, cushy armchairs, and the smell of fresh-roasted beans beckon customers to stick around for a latte, mexican mocha, or sweet pastry.
Pannenkoeken Cafe's specialty Dutch-style pancakes draw breakfast and brunch eaters to the teeny, brightly lit eatery lined with wooden tulips. Thinner than a buttermilk pancake but still slightly thicker than a standard crepe and abundantly thicker than an unwritten novel about crepes, the café's namesake cakes come in a mix of savory and sweet varieties, such as grilled salami and havarti cheese or apple and ginger marmalade. Freshly squeezed juice and espresso-fueled beverages pair with any of the dozen pannenkoeken options, omelets, and other breakfast fare on the menu.