The winner: Ritual Cafe, 1301 Locust St.
Located in Western Gateway Park, Ritual Cafe is a staple spot for breakfast or lunch, with a close proximity to downtown, the library and Meredith. The coffee shop serves an all vegetarian menu, which shouldn’t discourage carnivores. Tomato and basil or grilled veggie and mozzarella panini are served on garlic foccacia bread from South Union. The po’ boy (stuffed with grilled peppers, onions, marinated artichoke hearts, and cheddar and feta cheeses) will leave you full, and the popular hummus sandwich, with cucumbers, sprouts, red peppers, red onions and cheddar cheese, is a customer favorite. If you just want a snack, try one of the smoothies with an added nutritional boost. Eggs, oatmeal and quiche are also available for breakfast.
Stomping Grounds, 303 Welch Ave., Ames
Dine on soups, salads, quiche, crepes and sandwiches with your coffee in the quiet coffee shop, or outside on the large patio to people watch during summer.