Owner Donna Smith-Grice describes her father Jimmy Smith as drinking his coffee the way he lived his life: "strong and sweet." Inspired by the wafting aromas of his daily coffee pots drifting up from her childhood memories, she opened her own coffee shop and borrowed his first initial to complete the name of the newly born Lazy J Coffee.
In keeping with its homey origins, the café's interior seems more like an eclectic living room than a restaurant, with well-worn leather couches facing a faux fireplace and a small wooden buffet topped with old-fashioned candleholders. Amidst this domestic comfort, baristas steam mugfulls of the shop's signature grind and specialty espresso drinks or fill cups with fruit smoothies that, like recovered cyborgs, are entirely organic.
Palio?s Pizza Caf? may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant?s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover?s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant?s commitment to quality doesn?t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
The chefs at Kinoko reach for organic, local ingredients when preparing their menu of light Japanese fare. Dishes include pork dumplings, onigiri--rice balls laden with fillings such as tofu, salmon, or ground chicken--and a trio of fresh salads filled with veggies and optional proteins and dressings. An environmentally-aware eatery, Kinoko uses compostable and recyclable take-out packaging.
When Carlene Saelg and Rita Davis moved from Austin to Dallas in 2007, they immediately began their search for their new favorite coffee joint. They didn't find it. Instead of despairing, the duo took matters into their own hands and created their idea of the perfect coffee shop, which they decided had to include a cozy space, a vibrant community of regulars, and a menu of delicious beverages. A mere six months after opening, The Pearl Cup had become a Henderson Avenue hit and its signature drink, The Pearl Latte, had been named the best latte in town by D Magazine. The Pearl Latte, just like the rest of The Pearl Cup’s decadent coffee drinks, starts with direct-source beans purchased at above fair-trade prices and roasted by local Texas roasters. From there, skilled baristas craft shots of straight espresso, carafes of French press, or robust drip coffee made from custom bean blends. Those who opt for a dressed-up drink, such as a cappuccino or latte, will notice that The Pearl Cup's sizes are a bit smaller than those of big-name chains; this is all in a well planned effort to maintain the integrity of the coffee profile, rather than overwhelming it with milk or a cup it can't climb out of. No matter the size, customers will likely want to match their drink with what D Magazine called “first-rate” paninis and hummus.
Those seeking a break from their busy day routinely pop into Frogg Coffee Bar & Creperie, where they indulge in a variety of handcrafted coffees, crepes, baked goods, and sandwiches that are prepared by a talented team of baristas and chefs. The menu showcases a selection of sweet and savory crepes, stuffed with ingredients like strawberries and Nutella or a scrambled omelette, but also features sandwiches, piping hot soups, and a few wild cards like a variety of pastries. And, of course, there are the specialty coffee drinks, each one made special by the addition of the baristas' famous latte art designs.