Dessert refuses to be an afterthought at Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe. More than 30 ice-cream flavors—repeatedly lauded by the Charleston City Paper and Moultrie News—pile atop cones or blend into milk shakes, and classic banana splits make mouths water with their pecans and cherries. The café’s scoops of amaretto cherry or java chunk are generous, living up to the vision of Rod Lapin, who opened the first Ye Ole Fashioned in 1972 with the idea of making customers’ jaws drop at the size of his portions.
Today, at more than half a dozen locations, including one helmed by his daughter Becki and her husband, that hasn’t changed. Ten strips of bacon layer the café’s signature BLTs; chili-laden, all-beef hot dogs weigh down their buns; and the plates are required to start lifting weights regularly before they’re allowed to carry double-decker sandwiches or burgers.
A row of gleaming handles awaits customers at 32 Degrees, with each serving station unleashing a unique flavor of frozen yogurt tasty enough to warrant press mentions from the Birmingham News and Oxford Sun. Guests peruse the frosty options, serving themselves swirls of nonfat treats such as orchard peach or no-sugar-added Tahitian vanilla. The meltable technicolor mountains can be topped with more than 50 options, including roasted almonds, fresh seasonal fruit, candies, cereals, and pieces of used gift cards. Flavors rotate frequently, allowing repeat customers to gradually work their way through more than 40 flavor possibilities.
FreshBerry serves up low-fat and all-natural frozen treats with a menu of mouth-cooling flavors for inner-igloo-building. Yogurt comes in fun flavors, such as FreshBerry tart and acai berry, each containing live and active yogurt cultures—probiotics that act as personal assistants to the digestive system. Yogurts are available in small 5.5-ounce ($4.29), medium 7.5-ounce ($4.99), and large 11.5-ounce ($5.99) serving sizes and include up to three toppings, ranging from fruity fixings such as banana and mandarin oranges to cereal staples such as Cap'n Crunch. Fresh pops ($2.29) are made of all-natural yogurt and fruit and come in at under 100 calories, providing a cool and guiltless treat, and all-natural 20-ounce smoothies ($4.49) come with two different choices of fruit, including strawberry, raspberry, or pineapple. Check FreshBerry's nutritional chart for the lowdown on their frozen favorites.
Substituting healthful probiotics for the fat and Slim-Jims preferred by other frozen-treat chains, Yobe refreshes taste buds with guilt-free spoonfuls of all-natural self-serve yogurt. Made with organic milk, fruit, and no artificial sweeteners, each ounce of yogurt packs a mere 25 calories, resulting in icy spoonfuls that are lighter and more refreshing than a fashion magazine printed on a feather. The shop's soft-serve machines dish out 31 classic and exotic flavors such as açaí berry, passion fruit, lychee, and vanilla ($0.49/oz.). After piling bowls high with choices from 26 toppings—including fresh bananas, kiwi, and pineapple or m&ms, cookie dough, and peanut-butter cups—formerly tone-deaf taste buds may find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
At The Pretzel Twister, winding wrists hand-roll soft pretzels in nine sweet or savory flavors. Loop tongues around doughy twists coated in parmesan or cinnamon sugar, or gnash into a fiery jalapeño pretzel (a $2.90 value each) to enliven mouths bored from meatloaf-flavored chewing gum. A medium soft drink (a $1.80 value each), lemonade, or Icee (a $2.80 value each) washes down meaty mouthfuls of pretzel dog (a $3.30 value each), a savory sausage rigidly ensconced within a firm pretzel wrapping. Or opt for a medium container of pretzel bites (a $4.30 value each) that, like mini corn dogs or chicken-flavored Peeps, stamp out hunger with mouth-size replicas of a larger muse.
Locally owned and operated, The Bagel Shop specializes in authentic, New York–style kettle-boiled bagels, made fresh daily in 12 different varieties. Bread-ring biters can make a meal out of a single bagel ($1.10), available in flavors such as pumpernickel, garlic, and poppy seed. Slather plain housemade cream cheese on a multigrain bagel ($2.40), or experiment with exotic cream cheese flavors, freshly folded with such tasty accoutrements as jalapeño cheddar, scallions, and sun-dried tomatoes ($3.50 with bagel). Wash down a mouthful of bagel benevolence with a cup of Intelligentsia direct-trade coffee ($1.85–$2.05) or a loose-leaf organic oolong tea ($2.50 for regular / $3.75 for seasonal), served hot or iced.