An Erieite Appetite: Boston Bean Café photo: The Boston Bean Café is only a 20-minute drive from Mercyhurst College and a great alternative for breakfast or photo: The Boston Bean Café is only a 20-minute drive from Mercyhurst College and a great alternative for breakfast or lunch.

Price: Varies.

Quality: 5 out of 5

Even though Dr. Anne Zaphiris seldom dines out because she is a vegetarian, she highly recommends the Boston Bean Café in North East, Pennsylvania.

“I always get the vegetarian Panini without mushrooms,” Zaphiris said. “Just thinking about it makes me hungry.”

Located at 12 South Lake St., North East, the Café is a 20-minute drive from Mercyhurst College and is in walking distance of Mercyhurst’s North East campus.

Arriving at the Boston Bean Café at noon on a Thursday afternoon, my friend and I were ravenous and eagerly anticipating lunch.

As we walked into the Café, a door bell rang and the barista amiably greeted us at the front counter. Mocha- and coffee-colored walls, carpet and coffee-cup chairs created a cozy and relaxed atmosphere.

A fresh assortment of bagels, muffins, scones and cookies were displayed at the front counter along with a variety of coffee flavors.

Salads, sandwiches, Paninis, half-and-half combos, wraps, bagels and beverages were just a few of the items listed on the Boston Bean’s menu.

My eyes must have been bigger than my stomach because I ordered the turkey bacon bruschetta sandwich, two small chocolate chip scones and a vanilla frozen coffee. My friend took Zaphiris’ advice and ordered tea and the vegetarian Panini.

After we ordered and paid for our meals, the barista gave us silverware and a table placement card. We decided to sit at a table in the middle of the Café where we could thoroughly investigate our surroundings.

For it being lunchtime, only a handful of customers were present. I wondered if the lack of customers was related to the expense of the sandwiches. Priced decently at $6.99, my turkey bacon bruschetta came with kettle chips and a pickle and my friend’s vegetarian Panini plus fruit cup cost $7.25.

After what seemed like forever, but really was only 15 minutes, our lunch was expedited to our table and devoured immediately.

My friend and I shared half of our sandwiches because we both wanted the full Boston Bean experience. Warm and scrumptious, the turkey bacon bruschetta was an excellent choice. Turkey, bacon, fresh bruschetta, and gooey melted Swiss cheese on top of freshly toasted bread created an out-of-this-world combination.

Even more delightful, my friend’s vegetarian Panini was filled with fresh roasted portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onion, provolone and Swiss on a basil fococcia roll. “Yum-O,” as Rachel Ray says.

For dessert, I sipped on the $4 vanilla frozen coffee, which tasted like a sweet, caffeinated vanilla milkshake.

My experience at the Boston Bean Café was heavenly and definitely a treat. I will likely return during finals week so I can take advantage of their caffeinated beverages, delicious sandwiches and study-friendly environment. That is, if I can wait that long!

Open Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 to 3:30 p.m., the Boston Bean carries breakfast and lunch. Both meals are available for dine-in and take-out.