Red Hen Bread offers much more than bread, though its selection of the beloved sandwich staple spans from herb-filled to pumpernickel, ranging from $3-$7 a loaf. This wholesale supplier to local restaurants is also the popular stopping point for early morning appetites and late-day sandwich seekers. For the groggy pre-work (or, more pleasurably, the Sunday bagel-and-a-paper) crowd, the small storefront offers muffins, scones, tarts and croissants to accompany a coffee or espresso, capped off with the welcoming smells and red hen logo sure to rouse any "not-a-morning" person.
Though mainly a takeout joint, a long bench stretches under the front window inside, and during the summer months there's nothing like eating one of Ren Hen's classic sandwiches on the bench out front. Sandwiches and salads run less than $6, including the perfect spiced roast beef sandwich, packed with seasoned roast beef, red onion, arugula and provolone, spread with French horseradish and served on pumpernickel. The full deli also offers honey-baked ham, oven roasted chicken and turkey, hummus and veggies, salami, prosciutto and tuna. Feeling a little more down-home than deli? The peanut butter lover can smack his gums on PB & J served on challah or PB H & B (peanut butter, honey and bananas) on multigrain.
The full gourmet salad bar offers everything from artichoke hearts to baked wontons, with the option of chopping or tossing. Come wintertime, the salad bar closes, appropriately replaced by a daily soup. Forget croutons: The roasted tomato soup holds its own with spices, herbs and vegetables.
Even stopping in for a brownie or fruit-filled cookie is well worth the trip; you'll get enough time to look around, smell what's baking, and grab a menu in anticipation of your next visit.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha