Located near 22nd and South, Ants Pants Café bustles and resonates with strange Australian catchphrases and the whoosh-bang of an overscheduled espresso bar. “Ants Pants” is Aussie vernacular for “the best” or the “it” thing of the moment, which explains why the walls are plastered with street maps of Sydney (co-owner Liz Fleming cut her teeth in the cafes of that city). Tables are a bit scarce on weekends, but for good reason, and take-out orders fly out the door as the morning becomes afternoon.
Ants Pants offers an array of traditional café pastries for $2 to $3. A five-dollar bill will buy you a decent-sized beverage and a quick eat. The “Quick Fix” menu offers an array of just that: egg and cheese on a roll, ham and brie sandwiches with tomato and avocado for about $4 to $6, with a drink. With a 10-spot and some free time, you can sit and enjoy the café’s famous Crème Brulee Battered French Toast, served in maple syrup and sour cream, or dill scrambled eggs with feta for an eclectic taste (get with homemade potato chip fries — thinly sliced, by hand). Lunch is typically a couple bills more expensive. Sandwiches are served with a side dish and cost anywhere from five to eight bucks. The Lincoln Bite: the butter-drenched, crispy layered, chocolate croissant washed down with an iced espresso ($5). — COLLEEN REESE