It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers??homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry?s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry?s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Relaxing and working out don't usually go hand-in-hand, but things aren't usual at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. As soon as visitors set foot in the Mind Body Studio, they're set at ease by a modern lounge area, which boasts sleek bamboo floors, exposed brick walls, and sprigs of verdant plants. Inside the workout space, classes such as yoga and the barre method emphasize the mind-body connection. The Nalini Method classes also push students toward inner harmony with a combination of Pilates, aerobics, barre work, and yoga, helping students de-stress while toning limbs and burning calories without ever tossing any cheesecakes into open flames.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
St. Louis?style ribs, chicken and waffles, red velvet cake?plenty of soul-food staples show up on the menu at Kelsey's. But home-cooked as these dishes may taste, there's no hint of a grandmother's kitchen about the ultra-sleek, softly lit dining room. Instead, Kelsey's is modeled after the classic supper clubs of another era, with generously but elegantly plated seafood, steaks, and chops topping white-draped tables. (Of these, Atlantic City Weekly had special praise for the "exquisitely seasoned" shrimp and ribs that were "awesome, smoky, sticky, and wet.") If you visit on the weekend, there's live music, too, typically jazz or R&B.
But despite the upscale ambience, Kelsey's is, in fact, a family affair. Kelsey Jackson is the chef and his wife Kim the baker and business expert, and at least one of their children has caught the cooking bug as well, currently attending culinary school after capturing a rare apron-wearing spider in the wild.
Wine, beer, whiskey?and whisky?if it's a craft beverage, Atlantic City Bottle Company has got it in stock. On the beer side of the equation come packs of such brews as the rich and rugged Stone Smoked Porter, the heavily malted Rogue Dead Guy, and Elysium's hopped-up masterpiece The Immortal IPA. Distillers from all over the world supply a rainbow of whiskeys, from the ruddy tang of Bowman Brothers' small batch bourbon to the thick golden glory of Highland Park's 18-year expression. Oenophiles and vampires trying to keep up the illusion can select wines from all over the globe, including varietals from wine countries in California, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and Argentina. And besides bottles to take home, all of these fine beverages may be sampled in a tasting menu at the Iron Room: Atlantic City Bottle Company's in-store restaurant where chef Kevin Cronin serves charcuteries, artisanal cheeses, game meats, and his specialty Flat Iron Burger.
At Gourmet Restaurant & Sweets, guests sample from buffets full of flavorful Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian cuisine. The spread covers diverse dishes from daals to savory kabobs and spicy curries. Framed photographs of the landscapes and peoples of the Indian subcontinent decorate the walls, while a centerpiece of colorful flowers and a glass chandelier add a touch of class. To cool things down, Indian and Pakistani pastries and sweets range from khir rice pudding to ghulab jamun, a sweet, cheesy dumpling.