New Haven’s Chapel Street is bursting with color and sound. A truly a lively section of the city, the street is lined with chromatic and unique building façades, home to diverse shopping, restaurants, and two art museums (the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art); and is always busy with musicians; representatives of organizations asking for donations; and pedestrians, passing through or otherwise.
But tucked away in sleepy Sherman’s Alley on the otherwise bustling Chapel Street is a refuge of peace––B Natural Café, formerly named Woodland Coffee & Tea. White walls, oversized windows, and warm sun-drenched rooms give the space a bright and airy, yet inviting, ambience. Motifs of wood, found in the furniture and the building’s foundation, are present throughout, providing a rustic feel. Lush, leafy green plants sit on windowsills and in corners. And an exposed brick wall and a colorful, surrealist-esque mural add character and vibrance to the room.
Housed inside this oasis is excellent food: bright salads, warm grain bowls, sandwiches, pastries, fresh-pressed smoothies, tea, and never-burned coffee. My personal favorite orders are the lentil grain bowl, which includes quinoa, brown and wild rice, sweet potatoes, avocado slices, and spinach; the woodland salad bowl, made with romaine, kale, and topped with quinoa, brown and wild rice, chicken, feta cheese, egg, and black beans; and the honey-banana sandwich on a bagel––self-explanatory and perfect for those inevitable sweet tooth cravings. To place an order, simply tell the counter, then seat yourself and have your food delivered to your table. Or, if you’re in a rush, place your order online and have it ready for you when you arrive at the café.
Cuisine aside, B Natural’s true standout quality, however, is its music selection. The music, which varies on a day-to-day basis, can generally be grouped into three categories: R&B (think Frank Ocean); funk (think James Brown); and jazz (think Coltrane Jazz-era John Coltrane and 1959 Miles Davis).
Complete with free (and secure, password-protected) wifi, the café is equally perfect as the backdrop to a delightful meal or a day of work––it’s even a favorite study spot amongst Yale students. With varied and abundant seating (including outdoor tables), it’s perfectly accommodating for individuals, couples, or groups alike.
Have some free time after eating? Head to those art museums or peruse the shops located just around the corner for the complete relaxing day.