The Under Ground Café, christened after its subterranean location within the Place at Victor Village building, crafts a toothsome menu of sandwiches, salads, and freshly brewed coffee drinks. Sleepy eyes pop open and agree to release hostage brains after a sip of a bottomless cup of steaming Finger Lakes coffee ($1.45+), a bite of a fragrant block of baked cinnamon french toast ($3.50), or a sampling of a host of all-day breakfast bites. Beds of romaine and pillowy dinner rolls form a dais for the Under Ground salad ($6.50), a textural riot of dried cranberries, blue-cheese crumbles, and sugared walnuts, tucked in with a kiss of raspberry-walnut vinaigrette. Nip into a local legend with The Place panini ($7.50), a crisply ironed stack of grilled chicken and bacon, oozing with provolone and honey mustard, or stop irate sweet teeth from seceding with a rotating array of pastries and cookies ($1.50–$2).
Dolce Cupcakery subdues sweet teeth with an ever-evolving selection of cup-sized confections crafted from scratch. The petite-sweet shop offers a rotating cast of standard- and jumbo-sized cupcakes ($2.50–$3.50 per cupcake), with each sweetmeat donning a dapper frock of smooth frosting and stylish toppings such as white-chocolate curls, caramelized pecans, and peanut-butter cups. Relive childhood memories of tender lunchroom food fights with the peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake, or traverse the graham-cracker crust of the s'mores cupcake, crowned with a toasty cap of marshmallow frosting. Dolce also offers gluten-free options for those who suffer from uncontrollable bouts of barley-induced hucklebucking.
Moonlight Creamery, an ice cream shop founded by an engineer and her entrepreneurial neighbor, stresses two things: confections and community. The former is abundant, as scoops of homemade ice cream highlight a menu of sweets that includes cakes and pies, hot fudge sundaes with roasted walnuts, and handmade truffles. As for its mission to give back, the shop looks far and near, focusing on everything from using Fair Trade coffee and chocolate to hosting an annual Scholarship Day that raises money for its employees and local high school seniors who are enrolling in college.
Perkins began as a single humble Ohio pancake house in 1958. More than 50 years––and 440 national locations––later, each Perkins restaurant stays true to its roots by keeping those signature buttermilk pancakes the focal point of a 90-plus-item menu. Cooks layer the popular flapjacks in stacks of two, three, or even five and make the fluffy towers all the more tempting with toppings such as glazed strawberries, whipped cream, or flavored syrups. Breakfast favorites—including hearty omelets and country benedicts—are served all day, meaning kids and adults can order short stacks to accompany their jumbo-shrimp or steak dinner, instead of smuggling them in under a stovepipe hat. Unlike most other chain restaurants, Perkins also features in-store bakeries that churn out the shop's real fruit and cream pies, muffins, and chocolate-chip cookies.
Owners Fausto and Massimo Albano, who hail from the Basilicata region of Italy, win over American palates with a menu brimming with southern-Italian flavors. Culinary expeditions begin with appetizers such as the Sicilian-style fried calamari accompanied by kalamata olives and asiago cheese ($10.95). The Lemoncello pizza selection features 20 red and white personal pizzas ($10.95), uniting shaved parmigiano, fresh arugula, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice to form a doughy creation more impressive than the Sphinx, which is made entirely of buttermilk biscuits. Dive fork-first into the egg-battered Lemoncella artichoke resting atop a bed of angel-hair pasta and drizzled with a lemon-and-white-wine reduction ($18.95). The lasagna topped with rich marinara sauce wedges layers of ricotta, mozzarella, beef, pork, and spinach between its pasta shelves ($13.95). Homemade gelato leads a pack of sweet-tooth-sating desserts as live music makes nightly appearances—like the boogieman and Jay Leno.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.