Sweets and Treats floats an armada of sugar vessels with its sizable menu of classic candies and handmade desserts. Handcrafted treats ($0.50+), such as cherry-pistachio bark, fudge turtles, and dipped Twizzlers and cookies, provide hassle-free alternatives to jousting vending machines for their bounty. Jellybeans in more than 40 flavors ($0.50–$16) jubilantly bounce into mouths from single-serving sizes, gift boxes, or freestanding jelly trees. Handmade truffles from Marion, Iowa, include flavors such as raspberry, amaretto, mint, and irish cream ($3). Behind the counter, Sweets and Treats’ friendly staff members stand at the ready, offering able assistance with life-changing dessert decisions.
The Depot Express delights hungering tongue buds with a smorgasbord of specialty pies, as well as a slew of toppings for persnickety pizza patrons to create their own. The menu boasts belly-please combinations, such as the omelette breakfast pizza, adorned with egg, green pepper, onion, mushroom, canadian bacon, and the lactic duo of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses (12" for $12.99), and the supreme pizza, blanketed with beef, sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, black olive, and green pepper (14" for $14.99). The barbecue-sauce-slathered cowboy ranch variety loads on the meat ($16" for $16.99), while the taco pie dons a disguise of refried beans, ground beef, and piñata-shaped tortilla chips to hide from pizza-centric crime syndicates (12" for $12.99). Dough-based artists can create a meal masterpiece with traditional toppers, as well as more exotic trappings, such as fajita chicken, pickles, and sauerkraut ($10.99+). Individual pizza slices are perfect for light snacking before deep-space diving expeditions ($1.98).
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 theTake Away Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. 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.
The Prairie Soup Company serves lunchtime punters a trifecta of soups, sandwiches, and salads, as well as breakfast bites and coffee, in its downtown location. Ladling up six made-from scratch-soups Monday–Friday, the soupsmiths create heart cockle-warming flavors, such as Grandma Lil's chicken noodle, red beans and rice, and New England clam chowder (8 oz., $3.50; 12 oz., $4.50; 16 oz., $5.50), and pair each bowl with a piece of fresh-baked sourdough bread.
Nelson's Deli prepares a full menu of cold and hot sandwiches with stackable contents pulled from the counter’s adjoining market. Salivating window-shoppers can indulge their consumptive inclinations with a hearty sammy starring protein-packed roast beef ($5), smoked turkey ($5.25), ham salad ($4.50), or chicken salad ($5). The egg-salad sandwich ($4.50) deliciously greets lunch buds with a taste tempest, and eight different hot sandwiches, such as the pork tenderloin ($4.50) and BLT ($4.75), thaw the ice on frozen palates without the use of bottle rockets. Any sandwich can be paired with a fountain soft drink ($1.35) or other mealtime merriment, including freshly prepped salads and soups.
Sometimes the most satisfying meals are the simplest. Leaf Kitchen's cubano sandwich, for example, a semi-regular special with braised pork and melted swiss, was so good that it inspired Little Village's Scott Samuelson to declare, "a part of me [wanted] to check into some private room to be alone with my sandwich and its sauces." And this isn't the only dish that the restaurant's chefs effortlessly elevate. Their rustic cooking spans breakfast and lunch, ranging from sweet and savory crepes to grilled chicken-club sandwiches, focusing on sustainability as well as simplicity. Meals make use of locally sourced produce and meats, and even the coffee is an exclusive blend crafted by a certified organic, fair-trade roaster.
While the cuisine at Leaf Kitchen is minimalistic in design, the dining space is anything but. Midwest Living praised it by remarking that the "eclectic more-is-more interior offers so much to take in that you may not know where to look first." Servers flit among wood and formica tables set with mismatched dinnerware and clustered with turquoise stools and canary-yellow chairs. These vibrant touches find their complement in a retro-inspired soundtrack of jazz, soul, and world music, which gets knees bouncing without the spring-loaded floorboards used by other restaurants.