Coffee and swimming have never gone together so well. Swim Cafe, a West Town coffee and sandwich shop that takes it design inspiration from the Ada Crown Nadatorium across the street, features bright aqua walls and sleek blue tables and chairs. The cafe's niche is definitely its focus on fresh, creative pastries, quiches and sandwiches. Owner Karen Gerod cooks up different specialties daily, depending on what fresh ingredients she has at hand. The cafe typically serves two specials a day, along with its standard menu of salads, quiches and sandwiches served on Red Hen bread, such as the spinach with roasted red pepper panini or a peanut butter sandwich served on chocolate-chip bread.
Although you definitely don't want to pass up the lunch fare, baked goods are king so save some room for a Red Hen Bakery croissant or a scone handmade by Gerod. Top it off with one of the cafe's fair trade coffees or specialty coffee drinks like the High Dive, a caramel vanilla latte. The service is top-notch here; have a seat after ordering and your drinks and food will be brought to you.
One of the unique highlights of the cafe is its vintage swimming-themed lunchbox, which you can buy empty or fill with baked goods as a gift. If you bring back your Swim Snackbox, they'll fill it with lunch at a 10 percent discount. For those taking a stroll to nearby Eckhart Park, the cafe offers doggie treats for 99 cents and a dog watering station outside during the weekends. More perks: Bottomless coffee, wi-fi is available for free, and Scrabble Sundays (1-4 p.m.) are a must for wordsmiths.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Ann McDonald