Photo credit: Greta Irvine & Rose Sarner
Clark Street vs. Belwood
November 29, 2021
As someone who hates coffee but has friends who are avid coffee drinkers, the Belwood Bakery’s iced chai fills my “coffee” void. Even those who are die hard coffee fanatics will order the Belwood iced chai over their typical iced vanilla latte with oat milk. As a busy high schooler, this iced chai is the perfect mid-day pick me up. Some days, when the clock strikes 3 and school is out, I quickly drop my stuff, run over to Belwood and with a five minute wait tops, I am walking back to school with my delicious iced chai in hand. Since Belwood is closed on Mondays, I, unfortunately, had to resort to Clark Street. Although, I walked on over with a feeling of optimism, I was quickly turned away by Clark Street’s swarm of students filling the line halfway down the block. The 20-minute line outside of Clark Street is one reason I stick to Belwood.
In addition to Belwood’s iced chai and vanilla lattes, their diverse menu offers a wide variety of smoothies. Their smoothies have the perfect thick consistency that I believe makes or breaks a drink. Belwood is the only place across the street that is a one stop shop. You can grab a delicious sweet drink, refreshing smoothie, morning muffin, burrito, breakfast sandwich or even a lunch sandwich. Like I mentioned, Belwood makes it easy to quickly grab a drink or bite to eat with consistently satisfying service and respectful employees. Unlike my many experiences at its neighbor Clark Street, Belwood is much more of a local mom and pop shop. They are not overdeveloped, selling merch nor pre-packaged foods; Belwood strictly focuses on their food and drink items. This ensures that their time and expertise are dedicated to whatever I order.
My personal favorite food item at Belwood is their muffins. Their muffins range from blueberry to seasonal specialties such as pumpkin spice and they are all reasonably priced. Unfortunately, Belwood does not have an area for large groups of people to sit down for a quick snack, a drink or lunch. Despite their lack of outdoor seating, it does not take away from their reputation as being both an Archer and Brentwood institution.
Belwood used to run Brentwood as the go-to coffee stop, but this year, it has some competition — and quality competition at that.
As a new addition to the array of restaurants across the street from Archer, Clark Street is the ultimate bakery for high schoolers. Providing a great variety of bites, from pastries to sandwiches and an ample drink menu, you can’t go wrong with an order from Clark Street.
I will never forget biting into my first Kanelbulle, a Swedish cinnamon bun, and truly understanding what all the hype was about. Although I will admit that Belwood has some exceptional coffee, I would choose the shorter line and speedier delivery of Clark Street’s iced oat milk matcha any day.
Devouring unique pastries like a matcha chocolate croissant is no doubt a perk of Clark Street, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook the basics that they do exceptionally well. An order of the turkey pesto sandwich or the classic oatmeal bowl with honey, walnuts and bananas never fails to satisfy my stomach. And if it wasn’t during a school day, I would, without a doubt, purchase one of the fresh loaves of bread that lines the wall next to the pastry counter.
But what really puts Clark Street on a pedestal, in my mind, is its ambiance. As a junior with an unreasonable amount of homework, lunch and breaks are no time to be simply hanging out. That is why the indoor and outdoor seating at Clark Street makes all the difference. With tables both in front of the store window, inside the store and outside the back door, I rarely struggle to find a place to enjoy my food and get some work done.
And to really put it over the top, while I am waiting for my rich, warm cappuccino or my delicious breakfast sandwich, I can browse the Clark Street merchandise, featuring hats, hoodies and tote bags. I’m no fortune teller, but I can confidently say that Clark Street is here to stay.