Timbuktu pumps high-speed Internet into 28 computers and gaming systems such as Wii and Xbox Kinect, giving guests an opportunity to virtually compete against opponents or watch Netflix and Hulu. Customers can use the game card on numerous occasions for 10 months after activation, splitting time up as they please in virtual tennis matches, educational games, and classics such as Zelda and stickball. The gaming zone has turned columns into playful palm trees and painted tropical murals on the walls, letting players shun Mother Nature in favor of a gamer's paradise, and stocks snacks in the café to satisfy hungry players after virtual sporting events.
Rivulets of chocolate syrup mark the frothy peaks of whipped cream that top Idle Awhile Coffee's signature coffee drink, the Whipaccino. At this coffee shop, no one will blame you if you forgo a traditional latte or cappuccino for this frosty treat. They also wouldn't blame you if you used the free Wi-Fi, not for work, but to simply pass some time. In fact, nothing makes husband-and-wife owners Pat and Sandra Ball more pleased than when their customers stop in for a little downtime, daydreaming as they sip their coffee drinks, nibble on a baked good, and admire the local art hung on the walls and on the underside of each table.
But despite the laid back vibe, this shop takes its craft seriously. The coffee is sourced from Saugatuck's Uncommon Grounds, a company that purchases beans from small farms and roasts them in small batches. The baked goods, meanwhile, are all made in house by staffer Amy Soffran, who is known as much for her joyful laugh as her delicious lemon bars and scones. And Pat and Sandra have also put a lot of thought into the way their cafe looks, decorating the space with creature comforts such as over-stuffed armchairs, and decking the outdoor patio with swings.
Sweets! punctuates any occasion with an exclamation point by dishing out high-quality treats. Inside the charming Auburn Hills shop, sunlight stretches across the floors and brick walls, and visitors kick back while sipping iced lattes, iced espressos, and other coffee drinks?each crafted from locally roasted Great Lakes beans. Hungry visitors can also fill up on housemade soup and chilli.
As much as it appears to be a full-on caf?, Sweets! doubles as a source of fresh baked goods and premium ice cream, too. In fact, the shop stands as Michigan?s sole retailer of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. It serves the frozen treat in a seemingly endless array of flavors, including seasonal specialties.
Before Pam Turkin flung open the doors to the first Just Baked in 2009, she was just baking cupcakes on the weekends. But after her corporate travels took her past a growing number of cupcake shops outside of southeastern Michigan, she decided to turn her hobby into a career. She now helms 17 shops in the area, where she and her staff of dessert experts whip up eclectically flavored cupcakes such as red velvet cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough, and grumpy cake. In addition to the mouthwatering flavors, all of their items boast real butter, real eggs, and real milk as opposed to artificial ingredients from artificial cows and chickens.