Coconut. Passion fruit. Mango. The flavors of the tropics conjure images of sun-kissed beaches, lapping waves, and the airfare required to get there. That is, unless you visit a Bahama Buck's. At more than 30 locations throughout the Southwest, customers find relief from heat and hum-drum desserts with frosty treats including smoothies and sodas. Most of them come for the shop's signature treat?the shaved ice. After piling cups high with snow-like ice, employees drizzle the whole thing with one of dozens of flavors, which range from cherry and grape to birthday cake and bubblegum.
Bahama Buck's dedication to island living doesn't end with the treats. Each shop embraces the same relaxing tropical 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.
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.