After temperatures soared into the upper 80s, we were through. Tooling around the Buffalo Zoo was fun, but it seemed like even the animals were ready to call it a day. As we made our way to the exit, my family had an idea. With such extreme heat, why not try something new to fend it off?
We ventured to a small café across the street. On the street corner opposite the zoo’s old entrance, Sweet_ness 7 Café makes its home. We had seen the place in passing a few times but never stopped to take a look inside. From the outside it seemed a colorful, character-rich establishment. With jovial pink, purple and gold curtains in addition to inviting tables, the café appeared like just the place you might travel into the city to find. It sports that unique sense of character that only the singular culture of Buffalo can provide.
As we made our way across the street and onto the front step, much to our amusement we found the words “Hug Here” on the sidewalk just before entering. We obliged, happy to enjoy a moment of togetherness. “Such a lovely idea,” my mother said.
Entering the establishment was a cool adjustment from the heat of the outside. It seemed a shaded oasis, and the thought of no longer being subject to the harsh rays of the glaring sun was a revitalizing prospect. Instantaneously, we came to the conclusion that sitting inside, rather than under the umbrellas of the outside porch, was the better choice. A fan was blowing, and besides, the inside had a charm to it. Its shaded interior and quaint atmosphere was attractive in its own right.
A large round table sat in the middle of the room, inlayed with an intricate design including varying colors of wood. In the center was a wild buffalo figure with the inscription “Buffalo City of No Illusions.” Adding to the eclectic, welcoming ambience was a phone booth, marked specifically for cellphone use, a diverse stack of board games, an assortment of booths and tables, and finally the counter. Comfortable pillows, smaller dining areas and the main Buffalo table make up the entirety of the seating choices. Everything came together nicely, tied in with the place’s distinct curtains.
The coffee and beverage selection was much more diverse than that of any chain. The menu took up all of the space on a large chalkboard covering the walls behind the counter and on the adjacent side of the room. If fact, the options would probably have surpassed the number of choices for any two average coffee shops combined. Everyone in our group was parched, and it was amusing to consider some of the creatively named choices on the board.
Eventually, I settled on the mixed berry fruit smoothie, and since it was close to lunchtime we sampled a few of the other dish choices as well. My drink was made with raspberries, blackberries, mango juice and a banana. We also ordered the Organic Lemonade, Vietnamese (sweetened and condensed milk in American coffee) and the Cubano (espresso and cane sugar together for extraction).
My drink complemented the weather quite well. It was ice cold, with just the right combination of tart and sweet. The berries tasted refreshing after a few hours of walking. Moreover, the Organic Lemonade was equally well-received. The juice tasted fresh and savory, the drink overall invigorating, just the right choice for a near 90-degree day. Both the Vietnamese and Cubano received exemplary marks. They were each created on a custom order, to the specific taste of the recipient. Our server was amiable.
With drinks in hand, we waited for our food. The café appeared to be a popular place.
When our lunches were ready, we picked them up from the counter. They looked delicious. Our server told us all produce, meats and eggs featured at the shop are locally sourced and organic whenever possible. I had ordered the Celtic Love Spell, a crepe made with Nutella, banana and fresh whipped cream. It was a filling dish, and the flavorful mix of ingredients was a fantastic cap to an active outing. The contrast of the flavors, the sugars from the crepe and banana mixing with the fats of the butter and Nutella, worked splendidly together. My companions ordered the Bohemian Rhapsody, a crepe with mixed berry compote and whipped cream, as well as the Afterglow, a crepe featuring housemade lemon curd, kiwi and fresh whipped topping. The mixed berry of the Bohemian Rhapsody was a savory and flavorful delight. Meanwhile, the Afterglow was likely the consensual favorite of everyone. I did enjoy my order, but the Afterglow was a truly remarkable culinary experience. The lemon and kiwi resonated freshly, complementing each other as well as the weather outside. The tangy, tasty dish was savored by all.
I would recommend Sweet_ness 7 Café to anyone looking to try a reasonably priced, locally owned, uniquely extraordinary establishment. Its tasteful blend of singular characteristics, combine the best of both quaint city hangout and positively local vibes. Add the delectably delightful drinks and food, and you may find yourself going back again and again. It has turned into one of our favorite spots.
Landin Murphy is a senior at St. Mary’s High School.