The forest mural in the cafe, painted by Alicia Lyter, shows the beauty of nature and the growth of mushrooms. Whitney Walmer / Snapper

Whitney Walmer
Arts and Culture Editor

In Lancaster city, a melting pot of varying food, culture, and ideas come to life and allows small local businesses the ability to grow and thrive. Amanita Café, located at 401 W. Walnut Street, provides tranquil vibes and house-blended teas that help to unwind and expose customers to new local flavors and flavors of nature. The name of the café stems from the amanita mushroom, described as a mushroom that has a red and white cap that is commonly known in Costa Rica. A visual staple for the café is the hand-painted mural of forestry and a shelf of mushrooms growing.

In the approach of embracing what nature has to offer, Amanita has what is considered the monthly drink special.

“Our monthly special reflects what is going on in nature in the world. Our March drink special is the dandelion and maple latte when the sap starts flowing and weeds start growing,” said Megan, the café manager.

 A recommended favorite in the coffee blends, ZenBunni, is a biodynamic medium roast that is most popular in the category of roast coffee with a rich flavor and light body. The significance of the coffee blend being biodynamic means that it is farmed to enhance ecological and ethical approaches and looks to protect the environment. While the roast is not the local one, it is flavorful and affordable. Also, on the menu, most of the cuisine and goods are local and exceed expectations.

Another beverage that I had the ability to indulge in was the Chai latte, the concentration made in-house. Depending on the time of day, one can smell the spicy and sweet aroma wafting from the kitchen with hints of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The chai gives you a warm, comforting feeling with the soothing creamy notes of the frothed milk and distinct cinnamon notes.

An example of one of the businesses that Anamita works with is Susquehanna Apothecary. The house tea blends are developed by Ella Usdin, who is vice president and apothecary manager of the Susquehanna Apothecary.

 When looking for a bite to eat, the café serves breakfast and lunch during business hours. The menu features options from sandwiches, soups, and smoothies that range in flavor and organic ingredients. A recommended breakfast item would be the sesame bagel made by the New York Bagelry located in West Lawn, PA served with organic cream cheese and orange slices for a citrusy finish. For an option for lunch, it was recommended that I try the Deli sandwich, which is made with the chef’s choice that usually includes cold cuts and cheese that are changed intermittently. My sandwich consisted of ham, and deli cheese from Mandros, sprouts, ground mustard, and mayo on a seven-grain bread that was baked by a slow-rise bakery. My sandwich was fresh, and even though the ground mustard had a punchy flavor, the mayonnaise tamed the flavor with a tarty and creamy finish. Each sandwich is served with either pretzels or chips and an orange citrus that cleanses your pallet giving each bite a sense of refreshment and a new take to each bite.

Co-owned by eight different business owners, the café gives its flavor of varying possibilities and ideas. Since the café was established last October, I hope that the café continues to grow and flourish.