Ugly Mug Coffee aims to protect the farmers harvesting each bean by sourcing organic, pesticide-free, and fair-trade coffee from around the world. Integrity pervades every phase of its buying process, as the company selects farmers who cultivate bird-friendly, shade-grown coffees without the use of toxic chemicals, and pay them a fair, livable price to incentivize their growing. Their fair-trade philosophy extends to what Ugly Mug hopes will one day be a hands-on collaboration with the farmers; until then, partnerships with economic-development programs and Growers First keep Ugly Mug's coffee ethical without reading it transcripts of the long dialogues Socrates often had with his percolator.
Ugly Mug's stringent vetting and buying process results in nuanced, aromatic coffee roasted right in Memphis. Single-origin coffees from Brazil or Mexico showcase each country's character with a gentler roast, and blends include Hardy Passion, a dark, rich roast, or Saving Grace, a balanced Peruvian/Guatemalan brew with a clean finish. Flavored coffees sweeten mornings with tastes such as Cinnamon Sticky Bun or Buttermoon, a popular mix of roasted-nut and sweet-caramel flavors.
Jamal Dauba opened Petra Cafe in 1998 with a vision of bringing diners healthy, flavorful Mediterranean cuisine. Now, his team of cooks prepares that cuisine at four locations. The culinary experts stuff pitas with grilled lamb and greek salad, fry crisp falafel, and infuse savory dips with eggplant or feta cheese. They also specialize in grilled paninis layered with prosciutto, mozzarella, and other Italian ingredients.
In a world filled with loveless industrial snack patties, the baked goods at Ricki's Cookie Corner and Bakery go above and beyond normal cookie protocol to provide just enough sweetness to heal psychic wounds. The cookie that sparked the Ricki revolution, the world-famous chipsticks ($6.85 per pound), are a wallet-shaped slice of chewy excellence stuffed with chocolate chips and optional walnuts, also available in peanut butter for George Washington Carver fans. The chocolate marshmallow brownie ($6.85 per pound) is a gooier endeavor ideal for negating awkward silences. Sweet and soft cinnamon buns ($5.70 for six) provide an excellent option for those looking to indulge their sweet tooth before lunchtime without getting judged by a counsel of their peers.
Roasted and brewed in-house, Republic Coffee’s global-savvy coffee drinks roll out a steamy rug for sandwiches stacked with smoked meats and soups made from scratch daily. Leafy greens and veggies burst from salads drizzled with just the right amount of dressing, and crostini dive into creamy baths of garlic hummus. The cozy coffeehouse’s doors open as the sun rises to greet diners with fluffy eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and malted belgian waffles. Sleek black chairs and leather booths scattered throughout the interior keep night owls comfy until closing time at midnight, when the overcaffeinated crowd works off excess steam by bouncing against exposed-brick walls.
Arguably the best part of being an adult is being able to eat dessert whenever you want. Clearly Fran Mosley of Haute Monde Dessert Bar agrees––she'll even bring the sweets to you. In addition to catering services that include both sweet and savory spreads for weddings, parties, and cake fights, Haute Monde offers fashion services with a men's haberdashery and a women's accessories bar. Mosley also fuses fine art and sweets by creating elaborate and beautiful dessert spreads, which guests can sample from while exploring a gallery.
Bogie's harnesses the East Coast delicatessen experience through its savory menu of sandwiches, salads, homemade soups, bagels, and sides. Sandwiches are made fresh, often sporting a chompable configuration of Boar's Head meats and cheeses, as featured in the honey turkey delight and roast beef deluxe (both $6.49). Using homegrown produce and family recipes, Bogie's also concocts homemade soups, which vary by the daily spoonful ($3.99 bowl, $2.99 cup). Every morning, deli artisans rise early to fashion fresh-baked bagels and boil up farm-raised chicken breast for menu items such as the grilled chicken salad ($6.49). Delectable dessertables, such as brownies, lemon squares, and chocolate chip bars ($1.49 each), round off the homemade touch and subdue overzealous sweet teeth.