It's hard to step into this ice cream/sandwich shop in Edgewater without the eerie feeling that you're walking into the recently closed Sweet Occasions. The ice cream brand is the same, and the sandwiches bear similar kitschy neighborhood titles, such as "The Bryn Mawr Mess" or "The Granville Grilled Cheese." Zanzibar also showcases a collection of holiday trinkets (Jim Shore Figurines) on a triangle shelf at the back wall.
It has a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, though, and it's exciting to once again see an overwhelming collection of organic chocolate bars below the counter and an assortment of cakes and pies displayed in the pastry case. I ordered a double shot cappuccino, a Russian truffle, a Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookie with green frosting, a ham a cheese croissant (for breakfast the next morning) and if that wasn't enough, also added a Chocolove 61% dark Belgian chocolate bar to the mix. All of which were, I have to say, gluttonously perfect, and totaled just under $10.
The shop lost a few points, however, when the server forgot to put the croissant in my bag, and I had to go back to the counter for it, hours later. Likewise, after ordering my cappuccino to drink it there, it was delivered to our table in a paper cup, though other patrons were sipping out of white porcelain mugs. My partner in crime ordered a mocha latte after finishing his meal, which was also delivered in a paper cup, though we'd been holding up fort for nearly an hour and a half.
As for sandwiches, my date opted for "The Thorndale Turkey" hot Panini (roasted turkey, herb stuffing, cranberry relish, mayonnaise), and very much enjoyed it. With an averagely priced range of $6.95 for cold sandwiches and $7.95 for hot Paninis, it's an added benefit that all sandwiches come with a side salad, a bag of Brickman's potato chips, and a pickle. A bargain for a contemporary sandwich joint.
Though its origin is unclear, a nod to the owner for opening a much needed coffee shop/sandwich place in the neighborhood. It's a good spot to grab lunch with friends on the weekend, or a quick coffee and pastry before work. Conveniently located just off of the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop, Zanzibar is well worth a visit, and a truffle.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Sondra Morin