Blake Buchanan opened the first Bahama Buck's in the summer of 1991?a tropical-themed hut that served shaved ice amidst the sweltering Texas heat. Although his business has now expanded to 30 locations (and counting) throughout Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, each shop embraces the same island atmosphere: palm trees stand proudly next to tiki torches, bamboo trim lines the walls, and a smoke monster floats through the parking lot every day at noon.
Behind the counter, employees drizzle tropical flavors?from banana to watermelon and coconut?into cups piled high with shaved ice, cooling down overheated patrons. Anyone who forgot their brain-freeze medication can opt for a helping of Island House Coffee, lemonade, or Paradise Fruit?a blend of island fruits topped with chocolate, caramel, and whipped cream.
New York-style pizza and Italian-style Italian food fill the menu at Café Sicilia, a casual neighborhood joint with a welcoming feel. Served by the pie or slice, sizzling pizzas are topped with canadian bacon, mushrooms, capers, artichokes, and other standard or specialty toppings and give off the aromas of toasted crust and melty cheese. Deep dish, sicilian-style pies pack an extra hearty punch, while stromboli and calzones transform the slice into a more compact culinary vehicle.
Outside the pizza realm, Café Sicilia's chefs plate fettucini alfredo, baked ziti, tortellini, and lasagna. Kids can tuck into spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parmigiana, while parents feast on zuppa de pesce, an assortment of seafood layered in zesty marinara. Culinary expeditions conclude with tiramisu, cannoli, and plain or chocolate cheesecake.
A woven hanging light looms overhead, casting a buttery glow on wall alcoves festooned with orchid arrangements. Nearby, booths flaunt intricate geometric designs to match throw pillows on the adjacent sofa. The walls are comprised of texturally diverse materials such as stacked stone, exposed brick, and barbecue-flavored wallpaper, an eclectic assortment that mirrors Orchid City Café's mélange of Cajun, American, and Asian fusion fare.
Poboys and Thai-style rice dishes overflow with a choice of catfish, salmon, and chicken—all available fried, grilled, blackened, or interrogated. Chefs also mold half-pound Angus sirloin burgers to pair with fresh-cut french fries and specialty drinks such as smoothies or sweet boba tea.
Light streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of Glazed Doughnuts & Cafe, glinting off cushy high-backed chairs and sleek wooden tables before mingling with the crystals in the ornate chandelier. Before taking a seat or levitating next to the bookshelf, customers can peruse the mouth-watering menu, selecting treats including tantalizingly fresh scratch-made doughnuts, croissants, and muffins, carefully stacked sandwiches, and draughts of energy-boosting coffee.
Caribe Cafe's chefs describe their classic Cuban cooking style as a fusion technique, combining methods and recipes from Spain and Africa with the ingredients of the Caribbean. Nothing exemplifies this combination better than oxtails with white rice and beans, a staple of island diets for years. The chefs, though, particularly specialize in sandwich making, incorporating spiced chicken or slow-cooked pork into sandwiches layered with cooked onions and mojito sauce.
Roots Coffeehouse serves up coffee, teas, and a broad array of espresso-based drinks and complements its potable pleasures with friendly service and a variety of edible options. The shop's menu draws upon three different types of espresso—a single-origin, a blended, and a decaf—to provide savvy sippers with an extra degree of customization to their order. Organic and fair-trade coffee and teas are also available to help keep consciences light and fluffy. Order up a honey vanilla latte ($3.85 for a medium) for a sweet kiss of bee syrup without the danger and mess of personally milking the bees, then pair your vanilla-fueled brainpower with Roots' free WiFi. Frozen drinks such as raspberry mocha or vanilla bean frappes ($4 for a medium) help the overheated mock the impotent sun. A food menu featuring fresh-baked pastries and muffins, as well as a quartet of sandwiches ($7.00), is also available to help customers practice one-handed hunger-avoidance maneuvers.