A science lab calls to mind test tubes, bubbling flasks of chemicals, maniacally laughing men in white coats—but rarely ice cream. But that's exactly where Curt Jones, chairman and founder of Dippin' Dots, came upon the inspiration for the tiny flash-frozen beads of ice cream. A microbiologist, Jones spearheaded the flash-freezing process of cryogenic encapsulation, a method capable of trapping flavor and freshness.
Beginning as a retail shop in Lexington, Kentucky, the ice cream quickly began to quell the tantrums of Fortune 500 CEOs all over the country. Having won numerous awards since he created a new way to enjoy an old treat, Jones stays true to Dippin' Dots’ roots, making the ice cream at the company headquarters in Paducah, Kentucky. New additions to the Dippin' Dots family include Dots ‘n Cream, a treat similar to traditional ice cream.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
From within a small, colorful stand conveniently located next to a Cary transit bus stop, Jitters Coffee’s baristas serve up organic, fair-trade coffees, coffee-flavored granitas, and fruit smoothies blended onsite. Staff members eschew automatic machines in favor of grinding espresso beans to order for each hand-crafted cappuccino, latte, or mocha. Decaffeinated, low-carb, and sentience-free options are also available.
At Coffee & Crepes, the rich aroma of organic, fair-trade coffee brewing blends with the sounds of paper-thin crepes bubbling on the circular griddle, as chefs whip up sweet and savory stuffed pancake dishes. Diners feast on crepes filled with smoked salmon, chicken cordon bleu, or bananas and nutella, as they admire paintings from local artists displayed throughout the space.