SCOping out the best local coffee shops and cafes

Nov. 6, 2012, 11:32 a.m. | By Caroline Gabriel, Rachel Auerbach | 11 years, 7 months ago

Fenton, Kefa and Zed's are all great eateries

As the weather cools down and the days shorten, many Blazers are spending more time indoors. On frosty fall afternoons, there's nothing like sitting in a café with a hot cup of coffee, a book or a few friends. But Starbucks can get boring (and pricey). Lucky for you, your SCOffee shop experts have investigated some "off the beaten path" local coffee shops and cafés that put Starbucks to shame.

Fenton Café

The Fenton Café offers a wide variety of sweet and savory crepes. Photo courtesy of Emma Howells.

Feelin' "creppy?" Head on over to the Fenton Café, a creperie in the outskirts of downtown Silver Spring. The semi-new café boasts both savory and sweet crepes made to order with fresh ingredients. Sit down in the welcoming café, and you'll see a variety of people enjoying the company of friends, reading a book or stopping by to grab lunch to go. 31 types of sweet crepes and 16 types of savory crepes are on the menu, ranging in price from $4.95 to $8.50. Toppings such as avocado, egg, cheese, strawberries, Nutella and ice cream can be added for up to an additional $2.00. But don't go here expecting a quick meal. The intricate crepes take a while to make, but the wait will be worth it once you get your meal. The crepes are delectable, bursting with flavor, be it sweet or savory. The cheese, avocado and tomato crepe ($6.75) has the perfect amount of each ingredient, all complementing each other to create a scrumptious meal. The Nutella and strawberry dessert crepe ($5.95) includes thinly sliced fresh strawberries and a smooth layer of Nutella, perfect for an afternoon treat. Baskets of magazines and books, a television and a clear window to the crepe making station all create a relaxing environment for customers as they await their perfect crepe.

Fenton Café is located at 8311 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Md. 20910. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Telephone: (301) 244 - 5587

Kefa Café

The Cafe Mocha at Kefa Café is just the right mix of coffee and hot chocolate. Photo courtesy of Emma Howells.

Kefa Café, a small establishment with a loyal following, is a great place to grab a bite to eat. A breakfast menu, sandwich menu and espresso bar with various options all ranging from $1.95 to $7.99 show the shop's vast variety of food and beverages. The mocha is an ideal drink for non-coffee drinkers. It is a more sophisticated version of hot chocolate, with just a hint of coffee flavor. The almond pastry is fresh, moist and perfect for an afternoon snack. Along with an assortment of food choices, the café has a warm, friendly environment and welcoming employees. The shop has a local feel to it with photographs of kids and their art on the wall. Overall, a plethora of food options and a hospitable environment make the shop an all-around great place to eat. An additional bonus for Kefa Café is that Blazers will get a discount during November and December if they present a current student ID.

Kefa Café is located at 963 Bonifant Street, Silver Spring, Md. 20910. It is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Telephone: (301) 589 - 9337

Zed's Café

The calm, homey atmosphere at Zed's provides a great space to study or hang out with friends. Photo courtesy of Emma Howells.

As opposed to the first two cafés, which are more eat-then-leave places, Zed's Café is the sort of place you could kick back and stay for a while, even after you finish your food. They have computers set up for customers to use, magazines and books out to read and big comfy chairs. Customers can also take advantage of the shop's Wi-Fi and come with their own laptops to work. They do have food as well, but their drinks are the items on the menu that pop out. The mango-banana smoothie ($4.20) is tasty and refreshing, and customers can even choose which banana they want in their smoothie. If you're more in the mood for a pastry, try the toasted croissant with Nutella ($3.50). The croissant is warm and flaky, and the Nutella adds the perfect touch of sweetness. With tons of other smoothie options on the menu and various hot drink choices all ranging from $1.95 to $4.20, the beverages are worth trying when at the shop.

Zed's Café is located at 8225 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md. 20910. It is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Telephone: (301) 495 - 5614

Final bit of advice...

No matter which café you choose, you're bound to enjoy the variety that they offer, be it crepes or smoothies. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to do homework on a chilly day, a new hangout spot for you and your friends or just a unique coffee drinking experience, these cafés are worth a trip.

Tags: cafe coffee crepes Fenton Cafe Kefa Cafe Nutella smoothies Starbucks Zed's Cafe

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