Claremont's appealing little downtown strip is a delightful place to wander on a weekend morning or a weeknight, lined with restaurants that mostly prize comfortable standard dishes and a warm ambience.
One place on Yale Ave. that transcends this formula by adding great baked goods & drinks is Some Crust. The croissants are among the best I've ever had in the US and the almond cookies have a delightfully complex, nutty flavor in the flour. Everything is always beyond fresh. I haven't had the pleasure of tasting their cakes yet, but they look stunning. If you want one for a special occasion, call well ahead to reserve - they often sell out.
The coffee is delicious (and strong), and most or all is fair trade and organic, which means that you can sip and enjoy, happy in the knowledge that the farmers who grew it got a fair price and weren't subject to nasty pesticides. (Google "coffee fair trade poverty" and check www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/ if you're wondering what I'm talking about.)
The servers are always friendly and competent, despite the frequent crowds. And it's very kid-friendly, with a couple of small, colorful chairs at a little table, which our 2-year-old loves (high chairs available too).
Any drawbacks? There's not much seating -- it would be great to have more outdoor seating in particular, but the layout of Yale Ave (and neighboring Harvard Ave) privileges parking over sidewalk seating, which to my mind is a shame. The baked goods are not cheap, although reasonable and no more expensive than Starbucks, and I think the coffee is a little cheaper (and did I mention more ethical?). And it's often crowded - it's no secret how great this place is!