After transitioning out of a career in the entertainment and record industries, owner Jan Marc Dorfman jokes that he began looking for a new way to “sell round things with holes in the middle.” He fully embraced this new opportunity when he founded Delancey Street Bagels in November of 1989, originally stocking his shelves with 18 bagel varieties and a coffee machine that could only brew two pots at a time. Since then, he has expanded the selection to feature 22 different bagels—including cinnamon raisin, sourdough, and asiago cheese—as well as a full espresso bar with roasted arabica beans from organic and international producers as far away as Guatemala and Kenya. The staff fills the rest of the menu with hot deli sandwiches and an array of baked goods that can include muffins, cinnamon rolls, and scones alongside seasonal items.
Based on Delancey Street in New York City’s lower east side, a bustling corridor for local sidewalk vendors and pushcarts, the shop emanates nostalgia for an old-school marketplace with exposed brickwork and sepia-tone exit signs above the doors.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
The titular baker of Allison's Cups and Cakes molds red velvet, carrot, or other cake flavors into custom confections bedecked in bright fondant. From specialty cakes shaped like Princess Belle to novelty confections that mimic Louis Vuitton purses, her unique sweets add humor and color to the tables of birthday gatherings or wedding receptions. Rich buttercream frosting tops dainty cupcakes for a finishing touch or slips between layers of cake to break up fights over which one is moister.
Using ingredients from local farms, trees, and cows, the consummate confectionery creators at SophistiCakes bake an extensive menu of custom cakes, cupcakes, and quick-disappearing cookies that look as good as they taste. Savor the family-owned sweetery’s traditional cupcake flavors ($2.50 per cupcake, and $30 for one dozen)—such as red velvet, lemon drop, and triple chocolate chip—on a daily basis; or send a gastronomical love letter to a lonely stomach with specialty flavors, such as the taste-bud-tingling hummingbird cupcake—a moist cake of vanilla, pineapple, and pecans topped with buttercream icing.
Within a warmly lit exposed-brick interior, the flavor mavens at Manakeesh Cafe Bakery prepare a bounty of Lebanese-American fusion dishes lauded by ABC-6 news and Philadelphia magazine. Halal meats share the menu with vegetarian and vegan options as well as savory starters. Freshly baked manakeesh flatbread sandwiches journey through an open-flame oven, allowing guests to detail each movement with their own suspenseful voiceover narration. Diners can opt for a yogurt-cheese-spread labneh sandwich or invite the shawarma, which tucks sirloin into a fluffy flatbread coverlet, to a mouth sleepover party. A piece of the café's signature baklava soothes sweet teeth, and a strong Turkish coffee can fortify an extended stay inside a Trojan horse.