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.
Riley Greider is the mind, hands, and sweet teeth behind Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, a gourmet bakery specializing in cupcakes. More than 128 flavors rotate across the shop?s menu in groups of 13 to 20 each day, baked daily in small batches from fresh ingredients.
With such an enormous repertoire of recipes, the cupcake case has room for classics such as carrot cake alongside fancier flavors such as cinnamon french toast and cherry cr?me br?l?e?not to mention the decidedly outlandish, such as loaded baked potato and Game Day Chili. While retaining a home-baked look, many of the cakelets wear elaborate toppers of sprinkles, frosting swirls, or fruit. All this creativity won the shop the title of Best Cupcakes in City Newspaper?s 2011 Readers? Choice poll.
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.
There's a custard shop inside the vintage storefront at 72 St. Paul Street, but visitors will find much more to eat than the cold, creamy dessert. Abbott's Downtown also houses a kitchen in which chefs prepare comfort-food classics such as burgers, lasagna, and fried haddock. Patrons can also stop in for Sunday champagne brunches or to watch live bands perform in the evenings.
The Ravioli Shop's founder, Bill Kenney, feels so much pride in his store’s fresh-made products that if he notices a customer holding an odd pairing of ravioli and sauce, he’ll tactfully and enthusiastically suggest a swap. The rest of the team demonstrates the same dedication to furnishing excellent meals, guiding patrons through a dozen ravioli varieties and five regular sauces with personal advice, a handy online chart, and the ability to decipher the true desires of growling stomachs.
Staffers might recommend pairing their seasonal pumpkin ravioli with a sage and brown-butter sauce or perhaps their decadent lobster ravioli with vodka-cream sauce made with slow-pasteurized cream from a local dairy. In addition to pasta, the staff also bakes fresh bread daily, crafting semolina loaves, baguettes, and six varieties of focaccia early each morning. All ravioli, sauces, and breads are made from scratch, with 100% durum flour and fresh eggs infusing each sheet of pasta and roasted veggies and fresh-ground cheeses providing soft pockets of filling.
The tantalizing aromas of both hot, toasty sandwiches and sundry cupcakes, pies, cookies, and pastries fill the halls of the historic springhouse that Katherine's on Monroe Bakery & Cafe calls home. Katherine’s satisfies pre-dessert quotas with a full café menu that ranges from egg-laden breakfast sandwiches and quiches to sandwiches stuffed with both classic staples, such as that of the BLT or the Reuben, and more exotic flavors, such as the swiss-cheese-, pickle-, and mustard-studded pork and ham of the cuban panini. Once diners have finished off every bite of their sandwich, leaf in their salad, or sip of their soup, they can peruse a bakery case teeming with creative cupcakes, cream-filled pastries, dessert bars, and other decadent treats.