Athens Cafe is old-school, and that's not just in reference to the counter service. No, in this sense "old-school" means one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. The chefs at this casual fast-food stop prepare traditional Greek food, slowly roasting and slicing lamb before piling it into warm pita bread. Don't fret about choosing from the list of chicken, lamb, and seasoned beef kebabs?they're all good, and they're all served with a side of creamy hummus and a house salad.
Today's culinary triumphs are the product of thousands of years of experimentation. The staff at Annona Gourmet doesn’t see any reason why that march of innovation should end, so they fill the shop’s shelves with exotic twists on staples such as pasta, sea salt, and vinegar. 20 varieties of olive oil pour from large stainless-steel tanks called fusti, their straw-hued droplets hinting at everything from Sicilian sunshine to Persian limes. After tasting balsamic vinegar infused with cinnamon and pears or figs, patrons peruse the inventory of pastas beneath coastal murals that give one the feeling of being at a beach free of sailors with boring albatross stories. Jars of sauces and dressings hint at a spectrum of flavors with earth-tone hues, and sea salts take on the flavor of black truffles or ghost peppers in an escape from seasoning conventions.
When Doug and Jane Oyen founded C. McGee's in 1987, their goal was "to be the Cheers of the deli business." Given their restaurant's friendly atmosphere, dependably tasty food, and secret tunnel to Boston, it's clear that the Oyens achieved their dream. Chefs at C. McGee?s build sandwiches and soups from scratch, creating meaty works of art such as the cheddar-laden avocado turkey and the Cowboy, stuffed with hot horseradish and medium-rare roast beef. Box lunches pair sandwiches with sides, such as clam chowder and cream of broccoli soups, and breakfast burritos bundle morning meals.
Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.
Offering more than 300 varieties of cheese from 15 countries, Surdyk’s provides one-stop shopping for cheese aficionados, party planners, plasticine Englishmen and their put-upon dogs, and nests of mice disguised as parka-wearing human shoppers. Liven up your next book club, Civil War re-creation meeting, or Civil War creation meeting with the Australian Roaring ‘40s blue, English Colston & Basset Farmhouse Stilton, and Stinging Nettle Gouda varietals. Tongues frightened by the thought of pronouncing Ekte Gjetost can cheese it a little closer to home with domestics such as Constant Bliss from Jasper Hill Farm, 10-year-aged cheddar, and Cypress Grove Midnight Moon. If you're not sure which variety is best for party platters or swan-shaped centerpieces, Surdyk's knowledgeable cheese consultants will happily impart their know-how and enthusiasm to anyone who asks. And because man does not live by cheese alone, Surdyk’s 12,000-square-foot store also provides plenty of wine and deli-pairing options to further pique the palate.
Minnesota Monthly's 2008 Readers' Choice Silver Spoon Awards named Erbert & Gerbert's Sandwich Shop one of the top takeout spots. Yelpers give Minneapolis's 1500 4th Street location (not included in today's Groupon) an average of 3.5 stars.