After being widowed in 1982, Ruby Lorraine Feagan, better known as Tootie, began supporting her family one pie at a time, building her reputation as she won a succession of baking contests throughout Texas hill country. Investor Don Merrill came into the fold after reading a flattering article in Southern Living magazine and subsequently tasting one of Tootie's crusty, buttery, 6-pound apple pies. Today, Tootie and her daughter continue to ensure the quality of Tootie Pie Co. Gourmet Café's 13 signature pie flavors — which also include lemon velvet, coconut supreme, and the Rachael Ray–praised pumpkin pie — as they're carefully crafted and delivered to customers' homes nationwide. The bakery's burgeoning fame has extended to the Food Network's Kid in a Candy Store, which featured Tootie's pie-on-a-stick, slices of signature desserts skewered and dipped in chocolate.
Inside Tootie's café, the menu of gourmet sandwiches includes sweet chicken salad with red grapes and pecans and italian grilled chicken panini with roasted red pepper and pesto or chipotle mayo. Sips of house coffee and espresso-based Milan mochas clear palates between bites better than vigorously shaking them Etch A Sketch–style.
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 premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavor from a list of more than 60 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 mix-ins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one custom 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 pie à la mode.
Affectionately dubbed "a little piece of France" by Christina Rowland of Real Frisco, Cafe Trottoir et Patisserie transports taste buds with Parisian-style bistro fare for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Dishes feature simple, elegant preparations, with numerous sauces and vinaigrettes drizzled across seared tuna steaks and roasted duck breasts. Mimicking money-booth contestants, pear and goat cheese step into a salad arena, where they compete to snatch the most pecans out of a slippery shower of lavender-honey vinaigrette. The steak frites' Black Angus terres major is pan-seared with red-wine pan jus and laid on a plate of pommes frites and baby greens.
Indoor meals unfurl under brass chandeliers bearing clusters of golden lamps. In fair weather, the sun-dappled outdoor terrace surrounds tables in tall trees bookended by stucco walls and a large outdoor fireplace.
A marriage of former teacher Tiffany Key's passion for cooking and her creative inclinations, Haute Mama Dessert Company crafts sweet confections inside a colorful shop layered in hot pink and leopard print. Key’s eye for color informs Haute Mama’s decadent cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other sugary morsels, which come in a rainbow of rotating flavors that draw on the chef’s southern culinary upbringing. Each batch of treats, including gluten-free and vegan goods, comes wrapped in Haute Mama's distinct pink, brown, and leopard packaging. Bright ribbons fall across the shop’s precisely designed corporate baskets, while artfully arranged spreads cater to larger events such as banquets, birthdays, or tea parties celebrating a stuffed animal’s newest litter.
Since childhood, My Delicias owner Marie Gonzalez has spent every Christmas in the kitchen. Under the guidance of her sweet-toothed grandmother, she rolled out cookie dough and frosted cakes. She worked slowly and meticulously, anticipating the looks on her family members’ faces upon seeing the season’s batch of treats. Although Ms. Gonzalez’s fans have since expanded beyond her immediate family, the inveterate pastry chef still works with the same diligence and care. She meets with every client for a consultation, discussing his or her interests, tastes, and understanding of the Higgs boson particle before creating an original design for them. Ms. Gonzalez has frosted triple-tiered wedding cakes adorned with peacock feathers and fondant orchids as well as whimsical children’s birthday cakes that resemble pirate ships and castles. She also bakes simpler treats, such as cupcakes, cake balls, and sugar cookies. To ensure her pastries taste as good as they look, Ms. Gonzalez makes everything from scratch, shunning cake mixes and artificial flavors.
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.