At Arabica Cafe, friendly baristas serve up frothy cappuccinos, tasty pastries, and hearty breakfasts of egg and ham sandwiches. Guests relax in front of a roaring fireplace with a cup of cafe au lait, hold meetings over lattes and toasty panini sandwiches, or browse the web with free wi-fi as they sip espresso.
At each of its international locations, Fresh Healthy Café delivers—as its name implies—a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food. More than a dozen creations take form as wraps, panini, or salads, such as the Mediterranean packed with roasted chicken, olives, and feta cheese, or the Mexican Fiesta teeming with black beans, spicy mayo, and corn salsa. At the juice bar, a friendly staffer fills biodegradable cups with fresh-squeezed juices or blends whole fruit and non-fat yogurt into hearty smoothies. Beyond lunch, Fresh Healthy Café caters to the morning crowd with oatmeal bowls and parfaits layered with fruit and yogurt. They also do their part for the community by sponsoring school programs and picking up the gold coins that reckless people litter.
Margaret and Phillip Nabors were ahead of the curve in championing natural and organic foods when they opened Mustard Seed Market & Café in 1981. To ensure the integrity of every item stocked on their shelves, the Nabors developed a list of golden standards—nine guidelines that range from a ban on high-fructose corn syrup to selling only cruelty-free cosmetics. This combination of rigor and passion has propelled Mustard Seed for more than 30 years, filling two locations with locally grown produce, fresh-baked vegan cookies, and naturally lean-but-tender beef from certified Piedmontese cattle, which are raised on an all-vegetarian diet free of steroids and antibiotics.
Today, the Nabors' children, Abraham and Gabe, have joined their parents in leading Mustard Seed's team of natural-foods experts—who include everyone from the customer-service associates to the stockers, ensuring that shoppers can find answers to their questions around every corner. The store also educates customers through classes and free lectures on topics such as California wines and what’s going to happen when they run out of letters to name the vitamins.
At the Root Café, the staff’s passion for food takes a backseat to their passion for community. That’s not to say they don’t love making their steaming cups of coffee, baked goods, and fruity smoothies, but the true reason behind their culinary efforts is to keep guests fed and happy during a range of community-oriented events. Each month the café features activities such as poetry readings, children’s playtime, comedy shows, and forums about current events, serving as a place for locals to hang out and build bonds. While the atmosphere is always jovial, clients who wish to get work done can utilize the shop’s free Wi-Fi.
At the grills, the Liquid/Fresh Planet staff simmers up lean meats and veggies before assembling them into internationally inspired stuffed toasted pita and steaming rice bowls. Liquid/Fresh Planet strives to appeal to youngsters too, whipping up kid-friendly selections, such as cheese pizzas and PB&Js, and routinely checking beneath the stove for any potential boogeymen. Or follow the hum of whirring blenders through a forest of colorful red umbrellas to the Liquid/Fresh Planet front counter, where servers are busy folding fresh fruits and veggies into a variety of smoothies and wholesome eats. One packs a blender with organic oatmeal, fresh fruit, and whey protein, while another scoops up boosts from bottles of flaxseed, mixed vitamin, and ginseng.