Fresh out of college, Vince Petryk took a job as a dishwasher at an ice cream shop. It was just a temporary gig…or, so he thought. As Petryk climbed through the shop’s ranks—he rose from dishwasher, to scooper, to ice-cream maker, to manager—he was awe-struck by the way ice cream seemed to make people feel happy. From that point on, he knew that he wanted to continue to share that joy with others and that the best way to do it, was to own his own ice cream shop. He perfected his from-scratch ice cream recipe before opening J.P. Licks, named for Jamaica Plain, the neighborhood where he opened his first location. The flavors were immediately a hit and continue to win loyal fans for their intensity and ingenuity––at any given time, guests might find cake batter and chocolate peanut butter ripple on the menu, alongside unusual flavors like tomato basil or beer and pretzels. Since those early days, Vince has also added from-scratch hard and soft frozen yogurts, sherberts, and sorbets. He has even been known to develop flavors to suit the tastes of the area's different ethnic groups, and dairy-free ice creams to provide relief to the area's overworked cows. Beyond serving traditional cones, Petryk and his staff also pack chilly scoops into house-made cakes and pies, blend them into shakes, and transform them into decadent sundaes topped with homemade hot fudge or butterscotch. The icy treats have proved so popular, J.P. Licks now has 10 area stores, leaving them ample wall space for awards: readers of The Phoenix voted it the city’s best ice cream parlor in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Short for Boston yogurt, Boyo cools cravings with a fresh selection of frozen treats. Its menu's main feature is the rotating selection of frozen yogurts ($2.75–$4.95), packed full of protein, calcium, and anti-antibiotic probiotics. Pair a portion with any of the more than 50 toppings, including fresh fruits, candies, sauces, and cereals. Boyo also scoops a selection of gelato ($2.99–$4.99), sorbet ($2.99–$4.99), and Brigham's ice cream ($2.75–$4.95), which can be swirled into smoothies ($4.75), sorbetto spritzers ($3.99), or scattered across a canvas and sold as modern art. Micromunchers seeking room-temperature temptations can get their fix at the bulk-candy bar, which amasses 48 bins of different candies to mix and match.
Beacon Hill Chocolates silences the greedy squeals of Boston sweet teeth with a confectionary cornucopia of artisan chocolates from around the world. Wade in a rich bog of olive oil and sea salt truffles—dark chocolate topped with sea salt and infused with a touch of olive oil ($2.25/piece)—or mix and match from a treacled treasure trove of individual truffles. Mint pie—white-chocolate ganache with fresh mint and a layer of crushed Oreo cookies ensconced in dark chocolate ($2.25/piece)—is a tastier and healthier alternative to brushing your teeth, and the mocha mouse—milk chocolate espresso ganache with almond ears and dipped in milk chocolate ($3/piece)—scares away any sugar-addicted elephants circling your home.
On the countertop at Cakeology—a Top 5 finisher in the 2011 Boston A-List's Best Cupcakes race and a winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars—trays of the day's fresh cupcakes and French macarons stand at attention. Six best-selling cupcakes, including boston cream pie, carrot cake, and double chocolate, grace the menu year-round. They're joined each week by three rotating flavors, such as key-lime pie, Guinness, and white-chocolate coconut. Sharing these treats with all of Boston and Cambridge is The Brucemobile, a yellow delivery van painted with a picture of Cakeology's panda mascot, Bruce, whose bamboo cupcakes have yet to make the menu.
Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, this nationally recognized and trusted eye-care center now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well-trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. They'll help navigate a nearly endless array of sight-enhancing options: house lines of simple, durable frames and lenses, designer frames from Versace and DKNY, prescription Ray-Ban shades, and contact lenses to suit the chemistry of even sensitive sets of eyes.
Parish Cafe and Bar allows diners to sample the distinct flavors of Boston’s most renowned chefs without ever having to leave their seats. The vision of owner Gordon Wilcox, Parish’s menu is an amassment of sandwiches created by local culinary heroes, each one bearing that chef’s signature flavor profiles and mustard-written signature. Recognizable names include Tony Maws, the executive chef and owner of Craigie on Main. He designed the egg sandwich lyonnaise, a veritable feast of over-easy eggs, applewood smoked bacon, and Dijon mustard aioli. Paul O’Connell of Chez Henri designed Henri’s veal pastrami, while Tim Cushman of o ya contributed a spicy tuna burger with sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna and homemade spicy mayo. At both the Boylston Street and Massachusetts Ave. locations, diners can enjoy this tasteful tour of Boston with a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine, while the Boylston location also serves up a view from its outdoor patio, open during warmer months.