Explore Your City Melbourne
Anaya is one of the very few places in Melbourne that you can get a good cup of coffee while supporting a local business. Melbourne seems to still run mainly on corporate coffee. On my visit I ordered an iced latte with an added Mexican mocha flavor that had a really nice kick to it. The shop itself is small, but they do have a great shaded patio out back. You can grab a bite as well off of their small cafe menu.
Not many places can capture Florida charm without it being overly tacky, but Backwater has our colorful and relaxed showcased in their decor. Maps of Florida, pictures of Alligators and citrus crates add to the coastal vibe at this spot off the main drag in downtown Melbourne. Known as mostly a breakfast spot (it closes at 2 p.m. daily) many come here to make their own pancakes on large griddles, but they have savory items continuing to spotlight Florida love with dishes like Okoeechobee Ice Cream and Gator Gumbo. I enjoyed the Citrus Waffle which had both lemon and orange zest with candied orange slices on top. It was pure Florida and it was divine.
Over in the Eau Gallie Arts District you'll find a tiny pie shop tucked away in a corner on Highland Avenue. You don't see shops dedicated only to pie that often anymore, so when you do, you must taste and see what is good.
The shop is mainly a large kitchen with a small counter filled with pies ready to purchase. We bought a small strawberry rhubarb pie and tore into it at a table in the courtyard. This is a great spot to grab a pie to take home, a true taste of a local maker.
Walking down the main drag of E. New Haven Avenue will exhaust you in this Florida heat, but as you reach the end closest to the coastline you'll find a reward for your exercise; Hell 'n Blazes Brewery.
Known for having at least a dozen house beers on tap at all times, this is a wonderful spot to relax and try a flight of locally made brews in a comfortable environment. Several tables surround an expansive bar with a few cozy corners complete with leather sofas and chairs. Even this beer novice found some brews she could gulp down without too many sour faces.
Sugar Shack was not here on my last visit to Melbourne, so it was time to do some much-needed donut research. Oddly, there is only one table in the entire shop, so it's pretty clear they want you to grab-and-go, and that is exactly what we did. If you take a look at their donut case and wonder why it may be somewhat sparse, they hand roll and hand cut each donut in small batches throughout the day so donuts are fresh. On my donut scale of 1 - 10, these were around a 6.5. Not bad at all, not the best I've had. With no other competitors in the area other than Dunkin and other shops more inland, locals must be thrilled to have decent donuts on the main drag.
Mustard's Last Stand
There is no lack of restaurants in downtown Melbourne, but the issue was finding good food. One place we stopped that I won't mention was pretty terrible, yet packed, so that laid the groundwork for heavy skepticism about our other options. I would have happily gone back to Backwater if it hadn't already closed for the day.
A brightly colored hot dog shop spoke to me as I continued to pass it, so I figured it was worth a shot. At $3.99 for my Downtown Dog (cheese, tomatoes and bacon) I wasn't going to be mad if it wasn't amazing. And truthfully, it wasn't. It was just a hot dog being served by a friendly face behind the counter. My foodie heart was not captured by Melbourne, but I'm sure there are gems still to be tried.
Melbourne has several of what I affectionately refer to as "old lady" shops. That isn't necessarily a dig because some of the most bomb jewelry I've ever purchased was at Stein Mart. However, downtown has quite it's fill of clothing that even my mother wouldn't wear. If you are looking for shops a little younger with modern goods, here are a few.
It may take Melbourne a few more years to truly transform and find exactly what sort of downtown it wants to have, but with the beach minutes away and stops like these along the way, it's worth a day trip to explore.
All images are my own, all purchases were made by me. Explore your city!