Regardless of what time of day you teleport into Café Lily, Chef Anthony Pitillo has a menu that plots out a plan of tasty attack for every meal. Start your Sunday morning in luxuriously late fashion with a brunch mimosa ($6) and a specialty plate of beignets de crabe Benedict, which tops two of Chef Anthony's signature lump crab cakes with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and diced tomatoes and serves it with homestyle potatoes ($15.95). Or indulge in a lunch menu served daily. Dinner diners can keep things social and free of knife fights by sharing a tapas starter of calamari a la plancha, calamari (not breaded or fried) on a sizzling platter with olive oil, garlic, scallions, and fresh lemon ($9.95), before moving on to classics such as pinchitos, lamb tenderloin rubbed tenderly with a special blend of Spanish spices, chargrilled, topped with salsa verde and manchego, and served with sautéed white sweet potatoes (when available) and fresh green beans ($21.95). The stuffed, pan-seared filet mignon ($26.95) comes filled with mushrooms, fresh herbs, toasted pignolas, and gorgonzola, drizzled in an Amontillado-sherry sauce, and served with polenta and mushroom pisto. Several entree options are also available in half-size portions and are best chased with an equally decadent dessert of homemade tiramisu or gluten-free torta ciocolatta topped with fresh Chantilly cream (both $6.95). Café Lily also recently opened a separate tapas lounge with its own distinct menu.
Ebonie Hughes has had an affinity for baking since she was a child, making cakes in her Easy Bake Oven and longing to help make cakes at her mother's bakery. After years of honing her talent decorating and baking cakes—even doing it to earn extra income while in college, instead of selling lesson plans to unprepared teachers like the other students—she decided to open her own business, Scrumptious Cakery.
Using recipes perfected over generations, Ebonie creates cakes in a variety of flavors, including red velvet, key lime, and classic butter swirled with chocolate. She then swirls buttercream-cream-based icings on top of the sweets. Her classic butter cake with vanilla buttercream icing is the cakery's most popular pick.
Alcove's menu offers homemade baked goods such as biscotti, muffins, scones, cookies, and cakes, as well as more-savory options. Try a signature sandwich such as a prosciutto and goat-cheese panini with red peppers on ciabatta ($6.95), a chicken-salad sandwich on multigrain ($7.25), an albacore-tuna sandwich ($7.25), or a fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato, and pesto panini on focaccia ($6.25). Alcove also offers soup ($3.25–$4.25), salads ($4.95–$6.95), and snacks such as the hummus plate ($6.95) or the cheese plate ($7.95), served with fruit, nuts, and breads. There are also many healthy and vegan options on the menu. You may purchase an unlimited number of Groupons, and there's no limit to the number of Groupons used per order.
At ZenTea, the staff is eager to share their knowledge, presenting their menu much like a serious café or craft-cocktail bar would. To that end, owner Connie Miller has collected more than 140 teas from around the world, and more than just water goes into brewing each pot. Her time spent studying tea in Sri Lanka allows her to steep each glass with knowledge, whether it's about the tea's creation process or the ways that climate and altitude can impact its flavor. Though guests can grab a hot tea by the cup or in pots for one, two, or three, the tea tastings are where the shop shines.
They start with mini tea flights, which feature three 9-ounce pots filled with your choice of tea, and weekly tastings cover a new variety each session, in which guest sip five or six teas complemented by a dessert. Servers also up the theatrics with their iced matcha lattes, which are blended from green-tea powder, organic milk, and agave sweetener. Servers then vigorously chill the concoctions in martini shakers with the expertise of Coyote Ugly stunt women. And the café counter serves light fare such as quiche, salads, soup, and baked goods to pair with brews.
Considering that ZenTea’s century-old building once housed Chamblee’s town hall, it’s not surprising that the shop has become something of a community hangout—patrons explore the distinctive nuances of each varietal in tasting classes and afternoon high teas. Further inspiring relaxation, instructors host on-site zen-inspired classes in meditation, reiki, yoga, and reflexology.
Sweet Tooth founder Chalandra "Missy" Strickland discovered her talent for baking and pastry decorating in 2004, just before her daughter's seventh birthday. With little money to spare, she baked a cake shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants, and the rest was history: her daughter's delight upon seeing it gave her the inspiration to continue perfecting her trade.
Sweet Tooth's selection of cupcake flavors runs the gamut from traditional red velvet to unconventional Bacon-licious, and several of each occupy a gleaming glass case at the café's entrance. During the day, sunlight illuminates the playful lime ceiling and cushy detached backboards of the café as patrons sip espresso drinks, trawl the Internet, and nibble on sandwiches or pastries. As night falls, the café slips on a more glamorous feel as Sweet Tooth's plated dessert menu becomes available. Adult taste buds delight in alcohol-infused cupcakes ¬and the more complex flavors of the Turtle Delight, a caramel-and-pecan brownie supporting a generous scoop of ice cream.
Sweet Tooth's baking sages also educate blossoming bakers on decorating and desserts. Dessert-tasting sessions delight with 8–10 bite-size confections, and decorating lessons help finesse frosting dexterity as students drape cake stand-ins in fondant and adorn cupcakes with tiny flowers or weekend to-do lists.
As the bread-filled ovens in Our Place Bakery Café exude a gentle heat, the dining room’s similarly warm, cozy decor puts guests at ease. The cooks diligently craft the café’s menu of baked goods and familiar soul-food staples, such as vegan pastries, free-trade coffee, and golden-fried chicken. Following a spiral staircase, patrons descend into an underground cellar, where the lounge-like ambiance includes intimate lighting and cotton-candy-stuffed armchairs. Exposed brickwork encircles the space’s stool-lined bar and fully equipped sound stage, upon which musicians perform regularly throughout the week.