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.
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).
Shopping carts loaded with dozens of different dry noodles from Japan, Korea, and China roll through the aisles at Hana Asian Market, where shelves hold spices from across Asia, homemade vegan and meat pot stickers, and bundles of sushi- and sashimi-grade fish. The market also regularly hosts sushi-making classes that demonstrate proper rolling techniques and give students all the necessary ingredients, sparing them the hassle of ransacking the aquarium in their office lobby.
West End Blenz's nutrition gurus forge fresh fruits and healthy supplements into a selection of 25 smoothies. Flavors range from traditional strawberry and banana to protein-packed Bulk & Muscle smoothies, which can be sipped before the shop's community self-defense classes or attempts to bench-press the counter.
The fondant petals of a magnolia flower cascade down the face of a cake, fading from white to violet to midnight blue. Bunches of white roses burst from the top of a quintuple-layered, frosty white cake. Singular and elegant, cakes such as these have earned The West Side Bakery a variety of awards, including a spot among The Daily Meal's 50 best wedding cakes in America.
Though custom cakes are The West Side Bakery?s specialty, pastry chefs apply the same meticulous standards to other award-winning baked goods. They bake seasonal fruit pies, craft peach hazelnut tiramisu, and make more than a dozen varieties of cheesecake. Pastries run the gamut from simple shortbreads and biscotti to ?clairs and cannolis. Additionally, the shop touts a huge vegan menu that includes vegan cakes and tarts.
Patrons are welcome to take a seat at one of the cozy shop?s tables and devour their treats with a cup of cappuccino. If, unlike the cookie monster, they can?t justify eating dessert for every meal, they can also grab a tasty sandwich, fresh salad, or bowl of hot soup.
At the Root Café, the staff’s passion for food takes a backseat to their passion for community. That’s not to say they don’t love making their steaming cups of coffee, baked goods, and fruity smoothies, but the true reason behind their culinary efforts is to keep guests fed and happy during a range of community-oriented events. Each month the café features activities such as poetry readings, children’s playtime, comedy shows, and forums about current events, serving as a place for locals to hang out and build bonds. While the atmosphere is always jovial, clients who wish to get work done can utilize the shop’s free Wi-Fi.