After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including Ball Park hot dogs. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with Premium Coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Cold Stone's ice cream inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.
Borrowing its name from the eponymous double-peaked mountain, Maroon Bells of Colorado whips up its own fresh, premium ice cream, sundaes, shakes, ice cream cakes and more. Dairy diners can lick a chilly swirl of ice cream (from $1.95) in flavors such as Bell's banana pudding, blueberry cheesecake, and rocky road, before selecting a free topping to layer the creamy hill with goodies such as gummy bears and M&Ms (additional toppings $0.50/each). Savor every sugary morsel of a butterscotch toffee sundae ($4.45+), or cool esophageal flare-ups with an espresso-flavored shake ($4.35 for a small) or a Georgia peach smoothie ($4.35 for a small). Grouponers can also think of new ice cream flavors in the store's Create Our Next Flavor contest; the originators of winning flavors will get a $25 gift card, the chance to taste their creation in stores starting in July, and the tingly feeling of total dairy supremacy.
The Salad Bowl understands that a person cannot wallpaper his or her stomach lining with artsy leaf rubbings without handy access to a multitude of media. Get creative as you customize a salad by selecting greens and toppings from The Salad Bowl's extensive list of more than 50 ingredients ($7–$9). After choosing a mix of lettuce, veggies, and protein, garnish the greens with an assortment of nuts, croutons, and dressing.
Wraps are the Goldilocks of meal options, offering a just right ratio of carbohydrate to filler. MegaWrap's version starts with a high-quality, 98% gluten-free pita base, available in two sizes: junior or regular. Freestyle wraps are then stuffed to the floury gills with fresh ingredients and gluten-free deli meats. Poultry enthusiasts will appreciate the myriad of chicken options, including Caesar, fajita, or teriyaki ($5.69 for junior, $6.69 for regular). The quick-serve noshery offers additional protein picks such as tuna ($4.99, $5.99) or chicken salad ($5.29, $6.29), in addition to vegetarian-friendly favorites like falafel ($4.99, $5.99). In lieu of wraps, sandwiches can be had on ciabatta ($3.99–$5.59). Skip the bread altogether by grazing a garden salad ($3.99) or sipping the soup of the day ($2.89).