The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests’ senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store’s staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of super-premium ice cream in the on-site creamery and helping patrons select a flavor from a list of more than 50 options. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company’s founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery’s signature sweet-cream ice cream using their culinary expertise.
Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer’s choice of ice cream and mixins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one customized mélange. Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers a menu full of other scream-worthy confections including cakes, shakes, and ice cream cupcakes.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out premade treats, such as ice-cream cakes and baked goods.
Colorful art masterpieces brighten the walls of The Funky Door Bistro & Wine Room as diners enjoy a vast selection of wines by the glass and dip french-bread croutons into pots of rich cheese fondue. Other French-influenced entrees emerge from the kitchen in the form of seared shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, filet mignon au Povaire, and gourmet Kobe beef burgers served in berets. Guests can pair meals with their choice from 48 international wines stored in a self-serve Enomatics unit. This Italian-made technology stores a variety of bottles that can be dispensed in 1.5-, 3-, or 6-ounce pours at the perfect temperature through the use of a microchip card. The eatery's marble-topped bar stretches across an exposed-brick wall beneath sparkling glass light fixtures, which cast rays across vibrant blooms and linens tinted black and white like an old-timey TV broadcast.
For more than 30 years, Quiznos has toasted its submarine sandwiches to bring out the hidden flavors found in butcher-quality meats, cheese, and artisan breads. Its classic and signature subs take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles ranging from the double cheese prime rib to the classic italian donning black olives, mozzarella, red-wine vinaigrette, and plentiful sliced meats. Those closely monitoring their waistlines can take unabashed bites of sandwiches that have fewer than 500 calories, such as the honey-bourbon chicken, Baja-chicken, and small black-angus-steak subs or all flatbread sandwhiches. Quiznos' Toasty Bullets and Torpedoes offer slimmer versions of sub fare and flaunt supreme aerodynamics when shot out of T-shirt cannons and into mouths. A selection of Flatbread Sammies, soups, and salads round out Quiznos' varied menu.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop’s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Operating under the mantra Flavor Your Life, Bahama Buck's sends its patrons on a tropical holiday with every sip of its gourmet drinks.
Island-inspired decor outfits each Bahama Buck's location, and the business's approach to flavor as an art form—with more than 90 flavors of shaved ice—carries over to its smoothies, which send creamy concoctions climbing through straws to rouse tasters with the zest of fresh fruit and juices. Hawaii's Kona coffee beans are used for Island House coffees, and island specialties, such as 100% natural juices, provide an afternoon pick-me-up without the pressure of negotiating with the intimidating children in charge of neighborhood lemonade stands.
Family-owned and '50s-inspired, Nikki's Swirl Shoppe specializes in self-serve frozen yogurt, custom milkshakes, and customized sundaes. Salted caramel, creamy cheesecake, chilled cubes of fresh pineapple, and whole blueberries and rasberries decorate frozen yogurt, whose flavors include strawberry, chocolate mint, hazelnut, pistachio, and pound cake. Like the color of trees and the fashion of chameleons, these flavors change with the seasons, with eggnog and pumpkin making appearances in the colder months. In addition to sating singular sweet teeth, Nikki's Swirl Shoppe hosts parties for all occasions.
There are high-definition screens everywhere you look inside Nick's Sports Grill and Lounge. In addition to the 24 televisions that broadcast sporting events and knock-down-drag-out congressional hearings, a large projection screen hangs over a wooden bar where bartenders pour draft beers and more than a dozen wines. Behind the scenes, cooks whip up homemade chili and grill specialty burgers, such as the breakfast burger: a juicy patty capped in fried egg, bacon, and american cheese. For shareable meals, they also bake barbecue pizzas topped with chopped steaks and red onions.
Inventive combinations of locally sourced ingredients typify the fresh dishes that emerge from the kitchen at Zookini's. The cranberry burger brandishes ground beef mixed with dried cranberries and cream cheese, while the marinated margarita chicken rests on thick slices of ripe tomatoes. Pastas are all made in-house and serve as the foundation for the Zoo-preme carbonara and fettuccine alfredo. The eatery's eco-conscious, community-centered mentality carries over into the building itself, which is partially made from recycled materials, and the dining room walls bear the work of local artists.
Celebrating 20 years in Lubbock, the chefs at Fortune Cookie Chinese Restaurant prepare fresh recipes according to Chinese tradition. Their sizable menu starts with deep-fried specialties such as egg rolls and pork wontons, before segueing into entrees of sweet and sour chicken, mongolian beef, and double-cooked pork. Vegetarians can delight in broccoli in ginger sauce or lap up mouthfuls of mushroom soup. The kitchen team also arranges party trays that can provision family reunions, corporate functions, and church gatherings.
Beginning as a single shop in 1988, Racer Car Wash has expanded to include two additional Lubbock locations and continues to dole out soft-cloth washes and spot-free rinses. Vehicles can roll into the shop for a list of services from a quick Wash & Go to The Works, complete with polish, wax, tire dressing, and total-body protectant. Once cars are squeaky clean, staffers protect against streaks and spots with a towel dry and chickenpox vaccination.
Shrimp Galley serves hearty seafood dinners in a no-frills dining room decked in blue and white checkered tablecloths. Fried seafood platters—the eatery’s bread and butter—pair crispy pieces of shrimp, catfish, and oysters with fries and homemade coleslaw. On the grilled side, tilapia, whitefish, and red snapper fillets are served with rice and an “hourly” baked potato, which is chosen from a batch prepared no more than 60 minutes ago.
Servers at Copper Caboose deliver fresh Mexican dishes such as housemade guacamole and sizzling fajitas to diners. The sports bar features six big-screen TVs as well as 11 booths each bedecked with its own private TV. Other entertainment options include twice-weekly Texas hold'em poker tournaments and free games pool until 7 p.m. every night.
Beef ‘O’Brady’s boasts a protein parade of classic American fare prepared hot, steaming, and packed with enough beefy flavors to stampede even the most ravenous appetite. The brand-new lunch menu whets the fangs and gorges midday hunger pangs with greatest hits alongside tasty new classics. Dive into the beef end with the restaurant’s build-your-own burger, a quarter pound of seasoned steak ready to be dolled up in choices of racy chilis, deliquescent cheeses, and snappy smoked bacon, with a side saddle of fries ($5.99). Tackle the Gameday hot dogs, smothered in chili and cheese ($5.99), or snap back a dynamic duo of fish tacos ($6.99). Vegetarians can lunch in felicity with 'O’Brady’s new grilled veggie bowl ($4.99), splashed in creamy poblano sauce.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in 1945, Baskin Robbins now serves tasty cold treats at more than 6,700 retail shops spread out in more than 50 countries. Customers glance through the glass at flavors of all colors and textures, including standard-bearers as well as the always-changing flavor of the month. Servers transform scoops into the classic banana split or a towering peanut-butter-cup sundae, decorated with hot fudge and Reese's peanut-butter sauce. Soft serve takes the form of cakes, parfaits, and 31 Below mix-in treats, and drinks such as strawberry-citrus Fruit Blast cool mouths with a sweet yet icy embrace. Baskin Robbins also offers ornate ice-cream cakes to celebrate an anniversary or successfully forging a college diploma.