The baristas at J. Arthur's Coffee strive to cultivate appreciation for artisanal coffee by focusing on unblended coffee with unique characteristics. The shop trades directly with farmers that use sustainable methods, developing relationships with individual coffee-bean producers who are dedicated to distributing high-quality beans that taste magical but don’t sprout into beanstalks. J. Arthur’s blends espresso drinks with whole and 1% milk from Autumnwood Farms, a local family-owned operation that only raises grass-fed cattle. As patrons sip lattes and scarf down house-made sandwiches, live musicians fill the air with soothing tunes.
Since opening the doors of St. Paul Bagelry & Deli in 2007, sisters and co-owners Dodie Green and Peggy Teed have aspired to improve the lives of their customers with New York?style bagels, frothy smoothies, and freshly roasted coffee. Staffers also dole out stacked sandwiches during breakfast and lunch with piping hot cups of coffee and foamy lattes. For morning meetings and group get-togethers, catering trays can be delivered to your door piled high with scones, bagels, and an audio tape of a rooster crowing.
In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
Helmed by married couple Tomas and Maria Silva, the vibrantly embellished restaurant (formerly an 800-square-foot storefront) offers an energetic dinner menu dominated by straight-outta-Tenochtitlan tamales, tacos, nachos, and gorditas. An order of stone-ground corn chips and salsa ($2.50) kicks off Cinco de Mayo's 24-hour fiesta with a little edible confetti. You can also indulge your inner wizard with an order of queso fundido molcajete ($7.69), a bubbling stone cauldron filled with asadero cheese to drizzle atop your tacos (add chunks of chorizo, chipotle, habanero, or ham to the mix for $0.35 each). And if the burrito original (filled with your guisado choice or carne asada, beans, rice, lettuce, and cheese, $7.50) isn't big enough, the burro gigante ($13.99)—a two-foot behemoth stuffed with beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, two meat choices, and (it's rumored) a burro—will give you the mind-bending thrill of eating something larger than your own head. Vegetarians can abide by their uneasy peace treaty with chickens by dining on roasted chile poblanos stuffed with cilantro rice and white cheese ($8.79) or vegetable fajitas ($9.25) filled with cactus, onions, bell peppers, and zucchini. By this point, your piñata might be dangerously close to popping, in which case a spoonful of flan ($3.99) or refreshing gelatina ($2.99) make for safe dessert options. But if you don't want to disappoint the blindfolded birthday boys gathering around your bulging stomach with bats, go with the heavenly tres leches cake ($4.25).
Scooping out more than 200 varieties of ice cream, The Grand Ole Creamery is prepared to satisfy a plethora of palates. The line to the popular establishment has been known to reach the street during busy hours, but customers may spend the short wait ruminating over which of the rotating cast of 31 icy treats to consume. Each patient and self-reflective patron will be rewarded with a tasty pint (a $6 value) picked from flavors such as the pleasantly cordial sweet cream, a tastefully extroverted birthday cake, or the mysterious and brooding black walnut. Grown-up diners are allowed to save supper for last with any large artisan meal-discs from the pizzeria's menu. Options include a cheese pizza with fresh homemade mozzarella (a $14 value) and up to four toppings ($1 each) can be added; the Three Little Pigs, which is peppered with sausage, pepperoni, and canadian bacon (a $17 value); or a Veggie with white sauce, topped with zucchini, eggplant, shallots, and other ground-grown treats (a $16 value). In addition to receiving gastronomic satisfaction, customers will have their nostrils serenaded by the sweet olfactory tunes of the Creamery's home-baked waffle cones, hand-rolled in the store with a chocolate malt ball buried at the bottom. Pizza is available from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 p.m. through 10 p.m. on weekends.