In 1847, William Rahr brought his passion for beer from Rhineland, Germany—where his ancestors had been stirring hops for years—to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where he opened his own brewery and, later, a malt house. William's passion passed through the generations, eventually inspiring his great-great-grandson Fritz Rahr to open his own brewery with his wife, Erin, in 2004.
Today Rahr & Sons Brewing Company—whose Iron Thistle brew was named a National Grand Champion at the United States Beer Tasting Championships in 2009—pours more than 5,000 barrels each year. Encompassing amber lagers, bocks, IPAs, and more, Rahr's lineup of year-round and seasonal brews take their names from weather systems, homely dogs, buffalo hindquarters, and the storm clouds William saw on his voyage to America. The 20,000-square-foot facility welcomes visitors on popular Saturday and Wednesday tours, where fans can watch grain swirl and bob before it ships off to local farms and bakeries as a special treat for cattle and unique ingredient in artisanal bread.
Founded in 1996 at a lone store in Carrollton, Texas, Smoothie Factory began its journey simply by selling smoothies and nutritional supplements. The menu has since expanded to include frozen yogurt, juices, and healthy meals, but the franchise—which operates out of nine states and four countries—still focuses on its original mission: meeting the dietary needs of health-conscious customers with real fruit, nutritional supplements, and nonfat yogurt.
Each store mixes more than 30 flavor combinations, including Just Peachy, Very Berry, and Island Delight, a tropical blend of pineapple, banana, orange, and honey. Nutritional boosts such as caffeine, multivitamins, and fiber spin into chilled beverages to enhance weight loss and energy or give drinkers the cognitive ability to name all the stars in the universe.
Alfonso Miller believes that wine is not only a beverage, but also a work of art—an indulgence that promotes friendly conversation and warm feelings of goodwill. It certainly promoted both while he traveled through wine regions around the globe, inhaling bouquets and savoring sips in search of the finest cabernets, rieslings, and sauvignons. Now, Alfonso brings his enthusiasm for wine and years of industry experience to The Art of Wine, a wine bar and retail boutique that was credited for “changing the idea of what a wine store should be” by reporters from Advocate magazine.
The softly lit space’s wooden wine racks pack in rare and exotic wines from independent wineries across Texas, the globe, and deep-sea kingdoms. Beyond the shelves of glimmering bottles lies the cozy bar area, where savvy staffers dole out glasses and samples of featured wines from behind a marble bar. Customers here perch on cushy armchairs, clinking glasses of fine wine over plates of gourmet cheeses, artisanal flatbreads, and chocolate trifles. Occasionally, the sounds of live jazz float around the room, bouncing off walls full of paintings from local artists.
At Broadway Bistro Café, culinary wizard Joseph Cuellar guides budding chefs through the preparation of a four-course meal before they feast on the fruits of their efforts in the exposed-brick and wood confines of the restaurant's dining room. Apprentices gather in the kitchen for an interactive lesson in crafting one of three different menus that caters to a variety of taste preferences and allergy restrictions. In the course of 2.5 hours, pupils whip up a salad, appetizer, entree, and dessert, all of which will grace their taste buds and provide the energy required to slide down the banister of the dining room’s winding, imperial staircase. A non-alcoholic beverage escorts the self-prepared spread, and guests are invited to bring their own libations to toast epicurean success. Off-site lessons can also be arranged, letting students chop, sautée and stir in the comfort of their own galleys. Progenitors are welcome to bond with their offspring by taking class together, but children 12 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Chef Lulzim Rexhepi places a modern twist on his menu of traditional Italian dishes, keeping diners on their toes with tapas-style dishes served alongside pastas, pizzas, and seafood entrees. Prior to taking the reins of the kitchen at Veranda Italian Bistro, Lulzim trained in France and the Culinary Institute of America, sharpened his skills at the three-Michelin-starred Le Moulin de Mougins, and was the co-chef at award-winning modern Thai restaurant Kittichai. Now, at Veranda, he’s shifted his focus back to his roots in Italian cuisine. By offering a gluten-free menu, he also doesn’t exclude anyone from sampling his creations.