Sweet Tooth founder Chalandra "Missy" Strickland discovered her talent for baking and pastry decorating in 2004, just before her daughter's seventh birthday. With little money to spare, she baked a cake shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants, and the rest was history: her daughter's delight upon seeing it gave her the inspiration to continue perfecting her trade.
Sweet Tooth's selection of cupcake flavors runs the gamut from traditional red velvet to unconventional Bacon-licious, and several of each occupy a gleaming glass case at the café's entrance. During the day, sunlight illuminates the playful lime ceiling and cushy detached backboards of the café as patrons sip espresso drinks, trawl the Internet, and nibble on sandwiches or pastries. As night falls, the café slips on a more glamorous feel as Sweet Tooth's plated dessert menu becomes available. Adult taste buds delight in alcohol-infused cupcakes ¬and the more complex flavors of the Turtle Delight, a caramel-and-pecan brownie supporting a generous scoop of ice cream.
Sweet Tooth's baking sages also educate blossoming bakers on decorating and desserts. Dessert-tasting sessions delight with 8–10 bite-size confections, and decorating lessons help finesse frosting dexterity as students drape cake stand-ins in fondant and adorn cupcakes with tiny flowers or weekend to-do lists.
Chefs at Raku concoct authentic Asian dishes in traditional Korean and Japanese style, served on rough-hewn wooden tables lit by elegantly patterned paper lanterns. House specialty tonkatsu, pan-fried crispy pork loin, graces the menu with its unrepentant tanning habits ($8.95). Traditional Japanese-style ramen comes in a variety of soothing favorites, with combinations such as soy-based broth, peas, ramen, and tender pork ($7.95). Asian favorites such as steamed pork-belly buns draped with hoisin sauce ($3.95) or hearty donburi dishes mingling meat, vegetables, and rice ($6.95+) sate the secret desires of shy palates, and imported Asahi beer cascades from its cold draft. Raku is open until midnight on Sunday–Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for extended gatherings of friends, family, and lukewarm coworkers.
At Big Kahuna, recently named one of the "Best new restaurants of 2013" by Jezebel Magazine, the surf culture of Southern California meets the warm embrace of Southern hospitality. Retro long boards hang from the restaurant's walls, and alfresco dining—with its fresh breezes and sounds of nature—evokes soaking up a sunset from a Malibu beach house. Just as Big Kahuna's ambiance blurs the lines between cultures, so, too, does its menu. Diners can reel in all-natural burgers, steak churrasco, rice bowls with grilled veggies, baja fajitas, and fresh seafood, including ahi tuna, or imbibe beach-inspired cocktails such as surf-tinis and margaritas. Their emphasis on hospitality extends beyond the restaurant, with two hours of validated parking available during lunch and five hours during dinner, allowing guests enough parking time to eat dinner and see a show or game.
Three values form the foundation of Kenley Waller's business: great food, great service, and community. The food service veteran's commitment to these pillars have earned him awards, not only from the restaurants he's managed, but from the Boy Scouts of America (Golden Eagle Award), South DeKalb Rotary Club (Rotarian of the Year), and the Georgia Secretary of State (Outstanding Georgia Citizen).
But for visitors to Kenley's Restaurant, the proof of Kenley's dedication is something they can taste. Breakfast and lunch menus spotlight American comfort food with a bit of a soul food twist. Along with croissant sandwiches, omelets, burgers, and sandwiches, buffets feature fried chicken, fried okra, and biscuits smothered in gravy. Kenley and his team also specialize in catering, and over the years have accrued a client list that includes Macy's, General Mills, and the Red Cross.
Most know that way to an iguana's heart is through its stomach, but it is useful to remember that human stomachs can be reached through the mouth, nose, eyes, and—if it's an emergency—the number written on the refrigerator's dry-erase board. Today's Groupon stimulates your gentle iguana heart with a sensational feast of sweet tastes, smells, and sights at Sweet Auburn Bread Company. For $15, you get $35 worth of old-fashioned baked goods and breakfast at the charming Auburn Avenue bakery.
A cozy, red-brick neighborhood hotspot, Grant Park Coffeehouse serves up piping-hot or frosty iced cups of java alongside a packed menu of savory breakfast turnovers, healthy wraps, and freshly baked pastries. Stamp taste-bud passports with the piquant punch of European-inspired brews such as the espresso ($1.95–$2.25), or perform daring high dives into a frothy cappuccino ($2.75–$4.50). The homebrew ($1.50–$3.50) brims with classic flavors, and the pumpkin-spice latte ($3.50–$4.50) puts palates in mind of autumnal romps through raked leaves. Turn punches into lunch fare like a wizard during a boxing match with the three-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich ($4), welling with cheddar, swiss, and provolone, or keep lunch fare company with a chips and large drink combo for $2.