Food: Kay's Coffee
With Starbucks franchises literally popping up everywhere (including the airport, the mall, and in your garage), it must be intimidating to open up an independent coffee shop. It must be even more intimidating in a college town where one of the biggest stories last week was how the Starbucks on 13th and University was closing.
I've found a nice little out-of-the-way place, though, where there are no green and white signs to be found, and where the coffee is still strong. Kay's Coffee is a new place that is nestled in a building along with a Crispers restaurant; the whole affair is near a decidedly non-trendy strip mall. They're going head-to-head with their competition, that's for sure - there's a Starbucks literally 200 yards away.
Kay's distinguishing feature is its excellent Internet cafe capability - power outlets and power strips abound, and the main seating area is pleasingly lit and ideal for hammering out a late-night paper. I'm searching U.S. Supreme Court cases right now, and the combination of fellow students working around me, soft pop playing over the speakers, and a very stiff mocha latte in my hand is almost perfect. They also have some bubble tea which I didn't try.
The downsides: the coffee is still rather expensive and the place isn't open late enough (closes at midnight, when many college students are getting out of bed).