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.
As early as age 11, Joanne Weeden was baking treats for her mother to bring to patients at the hospital where she worked as a nurse. Years later, Weeden is still at it, making fresh cookies, cupcakes, dessert bars, and breads at Boomerang Bakery (the name is a tribute to her Australian roots). In addition to offering these goodies, Boomerang is dedicated to making a positive impact on the community in large and small ways, whether that means donating to local charities or teaching customers useful magic tricks such as how to make a cupcake disappear.
Founded in 1911, Schubert's Diner & Bakery has spent the last century dishing out traditional Norwegian fare, including hearty breakfasts, homemade dinner plates, and fresh-baked goods. Norwegian meatballs sidle up to Swedish rye bread in a recipe that has been a signature item for the past 45 years ($7.50). Fresh-baked treats are available for purchase with both meal options and include rosettes, an intricate, fried Norwegian pastry coated in sugar for a snack as light and sweet as a hot-air balloon toting a heap of third graders' valentines ($0.85/1 or $3.99/5). Select the breakfast option for all-day access to morning delicacies. The lefse omelet blankets fluffy eggs in a rolled Norwegian potato flatbread before tucking in a tiny teddy-bear garnish ($6.75). Schubert's Diner & Bakery covers tables with blue-and-white-checked tablecloths and lines its soda fountain with old-fashioned white barstools, upon which guests slurp down ice creams and malts.
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.
Jackie and Dawn, the mother-daughter team behind Scott's Pastry Shoppe, have been crafting fresh-baked pastries that range from elaborate wedding cakes to adorably frosted cookies for more than 20 years. When not hypnotizing sweet teeth with rapidly swirling lollipops, the baking duo funnels its dessert expertise into treats such as cupcakes, raised donuts, and kringles––a Danish-American sweet pastry. Ornate wedding cakes, which are available in marble, carrot, and strawberry, can be customized with fillings of custard, blueberry, cherry, or german chocolate. The steady-handed artists also personalize pastries by draping cakes in delicate flowers, bows, and scalloped tiers crafted from airy buttercream frosting.
One of the best BLTs in Madison doesn't have bacon on it. Dubbed the TLT, 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. And in 2013, it was named "Favorite Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant" by The Daily Page.
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 Sprouting Acres. They also throw monthly 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.