BEST COFFEE HOUSE (1999)
You can't toss a cup of decaf double latte in South Minneapolis without hitting a coffee house. Even in this glutted market, Anodyne stands out--partially because of the distinctive façade that juts out over Nicollet Avenue like the bow of a wrecked Spanish galleon. Inside, Anodyne seems to have discovered the antidote to Starbucks. Besides a java fix of Guatemalan Peace Blend, patrons can choose from the requisite assortment of tasty noncaffeinated beverages as well as an à la carte menu inspired by Dr. Seuss. While it has not been proven that square eggs and Spam and minty "Better Than Girl Scout" cookies have any nutritional value, such a repast seems to do wonders for the harried souls who partake of it. For those without an appetite for the creative cuisine, there are exhibits from local artists on the walls, open-mic nights that give aspiring poets a chance to spew, live musical performances from the likes of Brian Whiton and his jazz combo, and quiet moments to pet the itinerant house cat, slouch on a couch, or simply sip near a window and watch the world jitter by.