After Somali militias destroyed the Hassan family's perfume store, they decided to push through their poor luck and open a restaurant. This was no easy task: Because the streets of Mogadishu weren't safe for women, sisters Amina and Hawa Hassan would do the cooking, then send food to the restaurant in the morning. Unable to make sandwiches fresh, they put a Somali slant on the calzone, which a customer named the “min.” The name translates to “bomb” in the Somali language, in honor of the item’s heft and powerful flavor.
Since moving to the United States in 1996, things have become easier for Amina and Hawa. Samosa House bustles with people who chat over the calzone-style minato with ground beef and fresh veggies. The menu centers on Somali dishes, which blend culinary influences from India, the Middle East, and Italy, but also includes less traditional vegetarian and chicken options. After polishing off a steaming curry, diners congratulate Amina on her reputation as a star samosa maker for local fundraisers.
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.
Patrons sip on custom teas at Bubble Island, where staffers mix tapioca balls, or “bubbles,” with milk tea and creative flavors to concoct delightful chilled and hot beverages. Fresh fruit swims in many of the drinks, such as the green tea with mango stars ($3.65), and customers can often choose between bubbles and alternative drink accessories such as jellies and diamond-encrusted straws. As visitors lounge and mingle among the café's ample chairs or construct forts among the cozy benches lining the wall, they sip dulcet pourings of drinkable treats, such as milk tea with multicolored bubbles ($3.65).
Zou Zou’s Cafe treats taste buds to authentic French flair, assembling an appetizing array of homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches beneath the building’s restored pressed-tin ceiling. Dining quartets can skip stones across piping-hot saucers of soup made daily, priming palates and palms for an electric array of handheld eats. Ensconced amid focaccia, lavash bread, or bagel buns, Zou Zou’s sandwiches include the Manhattan Kingpin’s herbivore-friendly blend of fresh mozzarella, veggies, and pesto as well as the Hungarian Hammer’s sizzling panoply of ham, butter, and pickles. A trio of corned-beef sandwiches sails onto salvers bookended by thick slices of rye bread, and a selection of egg-centric breakfast sandwiches pairs with frosty fountain sodas and fresh coffee to unfurl eyelids around the clock.
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.
Coffee House Creamery is certainly not just a coffee house. Serving a vast menu that boasts more than 40 types of drinks, the café also offers 24 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, sandwiches, and paninis pressed in a grill instead of under the seat cushion of a flaming couch. Inside the spacious interior, bowls of daily-made soup and colorful salads populate tables where visitors kick back and enjoy free WiFi.