If you’re anything like me, warmly lit café’s with wooden walls lined with succulents and various knick-knacks are where you find happiness. The barista is most likely wearing a beanie, square glasses, or rocking a full sleeve of bad-ass tattoos. You assume everyone that works there has great taste in music judging by the smooth indie tune faintly playing underneath the soft murmured chatter swirling around your ears.
When your latte is delivered to your table, there’s an intricate heart image that the barista somehow perfectly formed from the froth. You’re still not entirely sure how they do this, so you quietly come to the conclusion that all of the employees must have some sort of magical-hipster-barista powers.
In a perfect world, there would be quaint café’s and quirky brunch spots on every street corner. I'm sure this will become my reality when I live somewhere like Portland, but for now, I live in Columbus, Ohio. I find myself grabbing an overpriced coffee and mediocre breakfast sandwich at Starbucks more often than I should. To save myself and every other Columbus foodie from succumbing to Starbucks breakfast for the 11th day in a row, I’ve dedicated my Sunday mornings to exploring the town and compiling a list of hidden gem brunch spots that offer phenomenal food and even better vibes.
Two words: pancake balls. Literally pancakes in ball form filled with Nutella, dulce de leche or pumpkin-apple butter. Not a fan of sweets for breakfast? That's weird, but you're in luck. Katalina's is also known for their award winning breakfast tacos.
And just when I thought Katalina's couldn't get any better, I discovered that most of their menu items can be made veg-friendly! Music to my vegan ears.
2. The Angry Baker
If you are anywhere near the Columbus area, put this place as numero uno on your list. All of The Angry Baker's pastries are baked fresh daily, and they are constantly switching up their selection of sweets. But before you write this place off as just another local bakery, you should know that The Angry Baker does not stop at pastries. Serving breakfast and lunch all day, they offer everything from French Toast sandwiches to enormous breakfast burritos to Vegan Reuben's to BBQ bowls drizzled with zesty ranch.
Aside from the food, the atmosphere is warm and comforting, and the staff is friendly and quick. Also, the coffee machine isn't behind the counter, meaning it is accessible to everyone at any time. Did someone say free refills on coffee? I'm there.
3. AcreGrown-up Granola paired with an Iced Coconut Chai. Is this considered "adulting?"
Acre is known for their dedication to serving high quality, fresh, honest food. They use organic grains, free range meats, and house-made sauces in all of their menu items. What I love most about Acre is that they always strive to incorporate local products from the Columbus area into their dishes. They list the local goods they're using daily so that customers know exactly what farm their food is coming from. Buying local is an incredible way to reduce negative environmental impact as well as support the community you live in. Way to lead by example, Acre.
4. Fox in the Snow
If we're talking about quaint, warmly lit cafés, Fox in the Snow takes the cake. I promise that the moment you walk through the door and smell the intoxicating aroma of coffee perfectly intertwined with the sweet scent of sticky buns, you will never want to leave.
Their souffléd eggs also look like fluffy enough to take a nap on.
5. Portia's Café
Gluten-free, vegan waffles stuffed with fresh banana filling. In your faces, gluten-free haters.
Portia's is an entirely Vegan café, meaning they use absolutely no animal products in their food and still manage to make everything taste incredible. 95% of their ingredients are organic, 100% are GMO-free, and they avoid all ingredients that they know contain gluten. They've also managed to create a selection of completely raw entrée's and desserts, including the Pad Thai, Cheezecake, and Chocolate Mousse.
Portia's is ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability. Their mission statement is as follows:
"Portia's café seeks to create positive change by providing healthful options for a variety of dietary lifestyles. In an inviting and accepting space, we welcome diversity and nurture community, while being conscious of our impact on the environment, the animals, and humankind."
In other words, at Portia's, you can have your Cheezecake and eat it too.