Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage’s tearoom wouldn’t be out of place in a Victorian dollhouse: delicate fine china teapots, fresh flowers, and doilies dot lace-covered pink tablecloths. Vines creep up mint-green walls and heavy wooden columns, and sunlight pours through picture windows. This ultra-dainty tearoom is ideal for afternoons spent sipping black, green, and herbal teas and nibbling freshly baked scones and finger sandwiches. It also serves up heartier housemade dishes that often feature organic, local ingredients, including vegetarian black-bean burgers and gluten-free fig, spinach, and gorgonzola pizzas.
In addition to hosting daily tea parties, Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage serves as a welcoming community hub where acoustic musicians gather to serenade patrons. Local artists display jewelry and paintings in the front room and, on some evenings, even attract craftsters and lost kittens by teaching knitting classes on the front porch.
At Dégagé Express, Head Chef Joseph Jacobsen uses techniques learned beside Jacques Pépin and Bobby Flay to transform locally sourced meats and produce—most cultivated within 30 miles of the restaurant—into elegant sandwiches and desserts. These ingredients fill the menu, composing seasonal dishes such as the Missy's Fix sandwich, made with housemade corned beef, apple slaw, thousand-island dressing, and local sauerkraut. Sous Chef Skyler Stanton, meanwhile, cooks soups such as the Train Wreck Chili. A testament to the culinary staff's creativity, croutons flavored with bacon fat and cheese top the restaurant's caesar salad, and housemade hot chocolate and locally baked pies from Schmucker's lend a sweet note, like a banker who underwrites loans with chocolate coins.
Dégagé Express calls the historic Commercial Building home. It is rumored that none other than Abraham Lincoln stayed at the building when it doubled as an inn way back in the early 19th century. Today, Dégagé uses the winsome building to host another cornerstone of the American experience: live jazz music.
The rich aromas of freshly brewing coffee permeates Biggby Coffee. Baristas blast water over specially micro-roasted beans, emitting a robust aroma as blasts and producing delicious cups of espresso. The alchemy results in Biggby Coffee’s signature drinks such as their caramel and butterscotch Butter Bear latte. In addition to coffee, they serve freshly steeped teas, Creme Freeze smoothies, and hot or frozen hot chocolate. Solid foods such as fruit cups and baked goods fuel guests for hot coffee chugging contests.
Sugary sculptures of characters such as Yoda, Hello Kitty, and Barbie grace custom cakes at Cherry Tree Bakery and Floral, where confectioners also whip up muffins, scones, and other baked goods from scratch each day. For heartier appetites, they also prepare café fare ranging from oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon or dried cranberries to salads, sandwiches, and soups. Additionally, florists pack a glass display case with flowers fashioned into artful bouquets or trompe l'oeil donuts.
Before Paul and Jared Smith came onboard, the company that became Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Co. had no coffee to speak of: it only sold chocolate by the bag, box, or individual morsel. But the brothers recognized how well their rich chocolates complemented a hot cup of joe, and by 2004 they started roasting their own beans. Today, those yield coffees such as the Black & Tan, a combination of dark and light roasts, and the Honduran High Grown, which is harvested on the wings of airplanes.
The coffees add a jolt to Great Lakes? hot drinks, including seasonal selections such as the egg nog latte. Organic and decaf teas, as well as cold beverages such as frozen lemonade and fruit smoothies, round out the shop?s drinkable options, all of which complement this family owned and run business? stock of sweet treats.
Though inspired by the northern California caf?s of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan?s modern coffee drinkers?in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.