Early morning sun filters through diaphanous white curtains, bathing a line of customers in a warm glow as they await their drinks. Behind the counter, staff members buzz about, filling cups with floods of steamy tea and coffee while simultaneously chatting with their patrons. So begins another day at Teahouse And Coffee Tapioca Bar, where cheery red walls and cozy chairs beckon guests to sit and quench their thirst late into the evening. The shop churns out more than 150 tea, coffee, and juice drinks ranging from traditional cappuccinos to unique selections such as pineapple gel cream tea, kumquat-lemon juice, and frozen Japanese green tea. Baristas also bolster standard drinks with the addition of brown-sugar- and caramel-laden tapioca pearls hand-plucked from wild pudding cups. As they sip, guests can also snack on cupcakes and muffins and surf the Internet on the shop’s free WiFi.
Stomping Grounds Playland is many things at once. Part play center, coffee bar, and restaurant, its target demographic spans generations, all of whom should find plenty to do within its 7,000 square-foot facility or 2,000 square-foot playscape. A play structure delights kids with obstacles and colorful tunnels, and an expanded toddler area keeps the youngest visitors occupied. To fuel this fun, the onsite Brewster's Caf? serves up kid favorites such as hot dogs and mac and cheese.
However, the caf? has even more options for adults?not to mention a dining area with free WiFi. Baristas pour cappuccino, organic chai tea, and specialty espresso drinks such as white-chocolate mochas. These caffeinated treats complement an array of signature sandwiches and salads. Stomping Grounds Playland also caters to parents with comprehensive party packages; party planners take care of everything, including food, activities, and all the paperwork required to receive a birthday wish.
A former caterer for celebrities such as Beyoncé, Yao Ming, and Natalie Cole, Chef Reynold Darthard gives tongues the red-carpet treatment with Chef Rey’s savory brunch and dinner menus. The chicken and belgian waffle with creamy grits finds middle ground between warring breakfast and lunch factions ($15), and the vegetarian burger satisfies meat evaders with a heaping pile of grilled red onion, sautéed spinach, portabella mushrooms, zucchini, squash, leek, and tomato atop a whole-wheat bun with sweet-potato fries ($10). Nighttime diners can partake in a plate of smoked lamb chops with pecan-carrot rice and sautéed asparagus ($30) or double down on meat intake with an 8-ounce bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin ($28), served with elegant garlic potatoes that charm mouths with yachting anecdotes. The indulgent dessert menu delights in its all-day availability, charming diners with such sweets as crème brûlée ($7), red-velvet pound cake ($7), and Rey’s famous lineup of cheesecakes ($6), including strawberry, chocolate, raspberry swirl, cookies ‘n’ cream, and New York–style, complete with a baked-in subway map.
At Teacake Factory, ogling is accepted—so long as it's limited to the delicious-looking pastries in the display case. The baker's take the attention as a compliment, since they make an effort to craft pastries that are not only tasty, but beautiful. They specialize in tea cakes, into which they incorporate cherries, chocolate chips, and M&Ms to create crumbly cake-cookie hybrids that pair perfectly with a glass of tea. But they don't limit their baking skills to just tea time. They're well known for their cupcakes, which serve as individual desserts, pies, mini pies, cakes, cake balls, and individual cake slices. Different tea brews can accompany any order.
With 12 varieties of frozen yogurt that rotate daily, creating a custom treat at YoFresh Yogurt Cafe can be a little daunting. So the staff encourages guests to try samples before fully committing to one flavor. After deciding what yogurt they want as their base, patrons head to the topping station—a colorful conglomeration of buffet-style bins and wall-mounted dispensers—to finish off their creamy treat with any combination of more than 65 fruit and candy toppings.
The staff does more than help customers choose frozen-yogurt flavors. It dishes out coffees, bubble teas, and smoothies, as well as a selection of fresh pastries. Every Tuesday and Friday at 7 p.m., YoFresh invites customers to show off their sweet teeth while singing karaoke. It boldly stipulates that talent is not required to participate in the event, so long as you have a bit of enthusiasm and more sass than a cat in heels.
Avalon Diner cooks up all-day breakfasts and third-pound burgers in addition to blending shakes, floats, and sundaes. Served all day, omelets hide an array of fillings within their golden folds, and stacks of pancakes come with toppings such as pecans, blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. Nightly blue-plate specials rotate through entrees such as beef stew, house-made meatloaf, and fried catfish. The all-American meals are washed down with desserts such as a malt presented in its chilled mixing can or a banana split presented upon the axe-blade that split it.