Mean Bean Roasters' beans hail from far-flung locales, such as the Caribbean, South America, and Papua New Guinea?but they're all roasted locally. The roasts are then packaged, sometimes as pure beans, sometimes as curated blends such as the robust-flavored "Black Magic." The team crafts flavored coffees, too, imbued with touches of amaretto, for example, or notes of bacon.
Set in a quaint, late 19th-century building in downtown Freeport, 9 East Coffee pays homage to its vintage surrounds by doing things the old-fashioned way. That means that, in addition to treating guests to rich Intelligentsia coffee, the staff here take the time and care to craft all their delicious pastries, pies, and savory wraps and sandwiches from scratch. That same attention to detail extends right down to the smoothies, which are blended using fresh, plump berries, and to the fresh soups and salads, for which the staff hand-chop vegetables each day. The atmosphere, meanwhile, is just as charming, complete with chalkboard menus, a sunny outdoor patio, and steam-powered Wi-Fi.
Owner Lance Ratze named Yola’s Café for his Grandma Yola, a sensational cook who hoped to own a cafe but passed away before realizing her dream. She did come close, though. In addition to filling her kitchen with restaurant equipment, she piled her basement's ping-pong table high with roast beef, waffles, and pies so as to serve as many people as possible.
Today, Yola's aims to recreate its namesake's hospitality by filling stomachs with baked goods. By lunch, artisans dole out sandwiches, salads, and soups to sate midday cravings. As they dine, grownups peruse a rotating selection of local artwork, while kids play with the cafe's toys, board games, and an old tin can.
One of the best BLTs in Madison doesn't have bacon on it. Dubbed the TLT, owner Jennie Capellaro's meat-free version swaps out the pork for strips of tempeh, a type of cultured soy. The sandwich's smoky flavor won over the critics of 77 Square, claiming Best BLT honors in 2010. PETA named it one of the country's best vegan BLTs in 2012. Every year since 2012, it has been named "Favorite Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant" by The Daily Page, and it has been featured on The Restaurant Show in both August and September of 2014.
Jennie and her team at The Green Owl Cafe strive to similarly surprise their diners by coaxing out unexpected flavors from their vegetarian and vegan dishes. Championing freshness, they prefer to work with local suppliers, such as Blue Skies Berry Farm and Voss Organics. One of the only vegan brunch places in Madison, guests can substitute tofu for the organic range-free eggs in many dishes, and enjoy bloody marys with house-infused black pepper vodka. They also periodically throw their popular Raw Nights, treating guests to prix fixe dinners comprised of all raw courses. Jennie matches her menu's celebration of nature with a rustic, wood-paneled interior and an outdoor patio where diners can catch the free vitamin-D capsules regularly tossed down by the sun.
Though inspired by the northern California caf?s of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan?s modern coffee drinkers?in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.
Baristas at Steep and Brew froth milk from the local Sassy Cow Family Creamery for lattes made with organic, eco-friendly, fair trade Café Fair coffees. Additionally, they steep loose-leaf tea from their collection of over 25 different flavors also available for purchase in bulk.