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.
Pizza making at Papa Murphy's stops just short of the ovens. After watching the pizza artists layer thin crusts or stuffed pies with toppings from the selection of four sauces and 20 meats and vegetables—including bacon, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes—customers take the pizzas home and follow the simple instructions for either baking or grilling them to a crispy golden-brown. Now boasting more than 1,200 locations across 37 states, Papa Murphy's pizza artists begin every morning by hand making new batches of dough and grating fresh cheese with Bruce Willis's coarse cheeks.
If the Aue family didn’t put Texas on the map, they at least made it tastier. Max Aue founded the town of Leon Springs, Texas in the 1800s. Years later, his son Rudolph founded Rudy’s, a country store and barbecue joint that eventually spawned more than 30 outposts throughout Texas and the American Southwest. Each one of them possesses a 100% oak-fired BBQ pit that slow cooks tender slabs of meat, adding a smoky flavor and tender texture to every bite. St. Louis pork ribs, lean and moist brisket, and jalapeño sausages are a few examples of the succulent morsels that emerge from the wood-fired pits straight to the plate. Classic sides such as potato salad and corn on the cop prove delicious accomplices, while banana pudding and peach cobbler grant every meal with a sweet and satisfying coda.
The menu at Gatti’s Pizza catalogs thin-crust pies, original disks, and deep-dish masterpieces, including one-topping pizzas ($5.99) and a selection of signature pizzas. Customers can construct their own circular meal ($9.99+) by selecting crust style, size, and toppings, or satisfy their stomachs with options such as the barbecue-chicken cheese-and-sauce saucer, which lays bar staples on a bed of dough ($9.99+). Those opposed to meat can dig their teeth into a large vegetarian sampler, which whirls together a bounty of smoked provolone, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, black olives, and diced tomatoes ($9.99+). The Meat Market ($9.99+), meanwhile, gluts the palate with pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, burger, and extra roundness.
Despite the adage that warns against messing with Texas, Jaime and Alicia Santillan had no problem giving Tex-Mex cuisine the cold shoulder when they opened Los Braceros Mexican Bar & Grill. The couple amassed dishes from their home country into a menu that has since won praise from Amarillo Magazine for its unflagging devotion to authentic Mexican food.
When he’s not strolling around the dining room, making sure customers are enjoying their food and wearing matching socks, Jaime supervises his kitchen staff as they prep plenty of tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and seafood entrees. The restaurant's grill often sizzles with the signature parrillada platter: your choice of three meats, from lamb chops to chicken, served with sides of rice, beans, and guacamole. It also roasts more obscure south-of-the-border meals, such as codorniz, a 2- to 6-ounce marinated quail, and Mexican-style ribs.
The restaurant, which is housed in a restored Route 66 building, stocks an impressive supply of tequila to augment its spicy eats. Patrons can sip on fiery samples or order beer from the full bar, which provides seating for live musical shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
Since 1977, the cookie craftsmen at Great American Cookies have shared edible sentiments via freshly baked cookies, brownies, and hand-decorated cookie cakes. The founding bakers opened their first shop in Atlanta with one initial product: a chocolate-chip cookie crafted from a generations-old recipe. Since then, their lineup has expanded to include oatmeal walnut, double fudge, snickerdoodle, and other cookie renditions. And they've also added rich brownies that range in flavor from Reese?s Peanut Butter cup and strawberry cheesecake to red-velvet brownies, german chocolate brownies, and traditional fudge. The biggest feature, though, is the shop's signature 16-inch round cookie cake, a hand-frosted mega-treat that can feed 8?16 people or approximately 200 industrious tree elves.
The shop?s website caters to sweet requests with an online store full of preconceived designs searchable by occasion, recipient gender, and theme, including birthdays, Easter, and Saint Patrick's Day. If you'd like, the bakers can handle specific decoration orders and create unique designs to celebrate special events, such as baby?s first hedge fund.