Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
At each of its international locations, Fresh Healthy Café delivers—as its name implies—a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food. More than a dozen creations take form as wraps, panini, or salads, such as the Mediterranean packed with roasted chicken, olives, and feta cheese, or the Mexican Fiesta teeming with black beans, spicy mayo, and corn salsa. At the juice bar, a friendly staffer fills biodegradable cups with fresh-squeezed juices or blends whole fruit and non-fat yogurt into hearty smoothies. Beyond lunch, Fresh Healthy Café caters to the morning crowd with oatmeal bowls and parfaits layered with fruit and yogurt. They also do their part for the community by sponsoring school programs and picking up the gold coins that reckless people litter.
Beginning with nothing more than a modest storefront equipped with a set of custard machines built in 1910, Pav’s Creamery has anointed a bevy of cups and cones with sweet scoops throughout its more than 45-year history. The shop still churns out the old-timey confections with the same machines, and staffers carry on the tradition by scooping loads of flavors into brownie bowls, banana splits, and milk shakes, which travel up straws and human-size hummingbird beaks in a range of creative flavors. Its decadent creations have earned Pav's Creamery multiple awards, including Best Ice Cream 2011–2013, Akron Beacon Journal, and Best Ice Cream 2013, Akron Canton Hot List.
A nonprofit, java-centric venture, Urbean Café brews and serves steaming cups of locally roasted coffee in order to support Urban Connection, a community-outreach program designed to provide employment training to disadvantaged members of the community. The café menu stars fresh, Akron-roasted beans in a stimulating selection of coffee concoctions ($1–$4), alongside a tasty supporting ensemble of seasonal sandwiches ($3.50), soups ($2), muffins ($1), and more. The eco-friendly café building boasts solar-power panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a noticeable absence of stove-burning stoves. The mobile Urbun Cart makes it easier than ever to guzzle a tummy-warming drink while enjoying the all-over warmth that comes with helping others.
Named Akron’s Best Coffee Shop by CityVoters, Nervous Dog percolates palates with locally roasted beans, soothing smells, and a small menu irrigated with pastries and tasty sandwiches (sandwiches coming soon—will be available at Stow location only). To prepare for a busy workday filled with consolidating files with a flaming broadsword, grab a small coffee ($1.75), or opt for a more complex tongue massaging with a small latte ($2.95), cappuccino ($2.95), or mocha ($3.55). The various tasty pastries are baked daily, ensuring they’re fresher than a cryogenically frozen bouquet of daisies ($2.35 each, on average). Customers on the run and method actors doing research for a Boo Radley portrayal can stock up on invigorating coffee with a one-pound bag of beans ($12.85).