The Aalto-esque black-canvas cushioned chairs, mellow music, and bright Chicago-themed art invite Emerald Cityís patrons to stay all day long, and several folks seem to accept the invitation, especially on weekends. Before ordering, check signs near the register for specials: you might be able to pick up a muffin or scone and a grande coffee for $3. Take that, Starbucks!
The cafe also offers a full array of grinders, which are toasted sandwiches on Italian bread, made to order with fresh ingredients. Try the Cubby grinder, with honey ham and swiss, or the Italiano, with ham, pepperoni, salami, and provolone. The $5.95 Lunch Box is a terrific deal. Itís a grinder with chips, pickle, a cookie, and a drink. If you linger long enough in here, youíll find yourself scrutinizing the miscellany on the low shelf.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Abigail Derecho