A mural of children happily swinging in a yard is painted on the side of the brick building that houses the Great Harvest Bread Co. Like a dope, I wondered what could be making these children look so vibrant and at peace (assuming first that painted children had emotions, and second that it had nothing to do with the boldly colored play field in their frozen utopia). The answer, I deduced, had to be the smell of the bread from Great Harvest—a warm, wheaty scent that makes you stand still in the doorway and take a deep, nostril-filling breath (again, like a total dope).
If the refreshing fumes can't manipulate your smile, then maybe the enormous size of Great Harvest's orange retro bread oven can; it could easily shelter a pair of elephants. The rotating racks in the oven are responsible for the daily changing menu of fresh baked bread, which ranges from basic white and honey wheat to rustic olive ($7.15) and lo-carb Dakota ($5). Free single-slice samples await you at the green-painted wood counter, which is a good way to choose which bread to get as the bookends for made-to-order sandwiches served Monday-Saturday ($5.85).
Other baked goods include scones, cinnamon rolls ($2) and basketball-sized chocolate babka ($9), while metal racks that line the cafe offer seasoned olive oils, jams, cookie and granola mix, and a Great Harvest Bread Lovers cookbook ($12).
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala