The sunset-orange hues of a neon sign reflect off mirrored walls, the cursive letters spelling out “Crossroads Cafe.” Husband and wife Dana and Cindy Nielson stand beneath, presiding over the restaurant they opened more than two decades ago.
In the rippling-hot air rising from a griddle, cooks grill bacon to top hot dogs and flip quarter-pound beef patties before coating them with housemade thousand-island dressing. Blenders full of malt milk shakes and smoothies purr. Expanses of black-and-white-checkered counters and glittering red chairs give one the pleasant feeling of stepping back into the ‘50s without ever having to see John Wayne cry.
A cozy boutique bakery, New York Cupcakes whips up house-made cupcakes in small batches throughout the day, topping each petite treat with signature buttercream frosting made with fresh butter from a nearby dairy farm. Like a sugary maelstrom, a rotating array of daily flavors widens the eyes of toddlers and grownups alike, tempting tongues with such varieties as East Village vanilla latte, royal red velvet, and orange dreamsicle. Orders must be placed by noon at least 24 hours in advance, and an additional charge will apply for filled, specialty, seasonal, and breakfast cupcakes.
The vibrant lime walls at Peaks Frozen Yogurt Bar merely hint at the intense flavors hidden beneath the folds and swirls of its frozen treats. A set of 15–18 dispensers dishes out low-fat, non-fat, and tart frozen yogurt, as well as sorbet, in a variety of rotating flavors. That flavor roster includes Hawaiian pineapple, pomegranate raspberry tart, and sweet coconut. After making their selection, patrons of the sweeteries' three locations—including the newest location, in Issaquah Commons—peruse the toppings bar for any combination of the 40 available treats, such as M&Ms, fresh fruit, and pecan chunks.
Regent Bakery & Cafe's authentic Chinese flavors couldn't be contained to just one meal. The restaurant started as a bakery specializing in Chinese pastries and cakes. As its popularity grew, so too did its menu—the staff began serving beef-stew and salted-fish hot pies, roast duck, and ma-pao tofu. Regent Bakery & Cafe now sports two full locations; the newest features a full bar that mixes up a selection of adult beverages and bubble teas, served inside a restaurant whose modern decor is lit by chandeliers and neon track lighting.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$8.50 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with freshly milled flour every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include golden honey wheat and Dakota bread. Gluten-free and high-protein breads are available in a variety of flavors, including gluten-free cinnamon-chip bread. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and bars.
Gwen Whillhite found herself with time to think. Suddenly unemployed, the single mother needed income and fast. So she harnessed her motivation and creativity, experimenting with her handcrafted recipes for cinnamon and brown-sugar cookies and combining two traditional gifts—flowers and cookies—into one edible work of art. Soon her signature line of cookie bouquets took off, celebrating any season, event, special occasion, or adoption of a new nickname.
Bouquet gift baskets celebrate a birthday or graduation with a central message and a cartoon collection of images, animals, and flowers iced onto sugar cookies. Each vibrantly dressed confection sits atop a stick, arranged with its kin into a symmetrical display with colorful rushes of tissue paper. Cookies By Design also arranges circular sweets into personalized tins and baskets or sells them individually. Skillful bakers can paint cookies with the likeness of a licensed character from Disney, Garfield, and Winnie the Pooh, as well as NHL-, NBA-, and NFL-themed treats for sweetly bribing hungry referees.