That distinct smell of flour and warm sugar floats out of Tasty Daylight Donuts’ kitchen each morning as bakers prepare fresh donuts for the day’s crowd. They bake more than 50 flavors each day, including blueberry cake and french cruller, and inject fillings such as banana cream or peach into the doughy circles for a sneak attack on taste buds. The bakers also let customers try their hand at combining flavors to make custom donuts. They also whip up a slate of fancy sweet treats in addition to donuts, such as apple fritters and fried cinnamon rolls that pair well with lattes and cappuccinos. The donut shop also gives back to the community by selling their treats to nonprofits for a discounted price.
Inside a restored Colonial Revival mansion a stone's throw from the Tennessee River, Chef William Oglesby blends American and international dishes. Classic southern recipes take on worldly flavors, such as fried green tomatoes crowned with prosciutto and herbed goat cheese and sweet potato-crusted shrimp with fennel slaw. Local ingredients star in dishes such as the New York strip steak rubbed with espresso from nearby Rembrandt's Roasting Co and flanked by truffle-infused potatoes. Chef Oglesby and his culinary team also meet unique dietary needs with many gluten-safe options. A terrace overlooking the river, two naturally lit sunrooms, and an intimate library create a romantic atmosphere wherever guests choose to dine.
At Whipped Cupcakes, chefs blend small batches of sweet treats, made from locally and regionally acquired ingredients, surrounded by vibrant pink and green hues that complement the whimsical murals that gussy up the walls. The bakers concoct regularly rotating flavors, such as s'mores and chocolate mint, adapting to the changing clime and square on the calendar by preparing seasonal flavors and flavors-of-the-day, including cinnamon chai. Celebratory themes, from birthdays and graduations to Halloween, festively blanket dough foundations, and myriad other confections vie for palates' attentions, including pies, cinnamon buns, cupcakes cunningly disguised as tortes, and tortes more cunningly disguised as gold bullion. Tissue-paper bees dangle from the ceiling of the fanciful space, and a bird motif established by line drawings hangs above patrons as they lean on the L-shaped countertop or press noses against the three-tiered, glass cupcake case.
Dipped Fresh's team prepares fruit-laden spinach salads and sandwiches to be enjoyed in the airy interior, as well as boxes of chocolate-dipped fruits and cookies to be taken home. The staff hand-dips these morsels of fruit and other treats into vats of rich chocolate, coating Oreos, pound cake, ice cream, and even thick-sliced bacon.
The caf?'s red and white walls host many pieces of art, from prints of flowers to impressionist-style paintings of autumn trees. An I-beam runs across the ceiling, symbolizing the support that bread provides for a sandwich and that friends provide for each other when they can't find the sandwich they just made together.
Gigi of Gigi's Cupcakes has been a self-starter since she was 15. That's when she began her first business?a cleaning company?because she "didn't want to work for anyone else." What began as a youthful whim blossomed into a business philosophy that, along with waiting tables and singing professionally, carried Gigi into her 30s.
Then, one day, her brother suggested making a career out of her passion for baking. That hobby had been born in her childhood, when Gigi often spent time with her mother and grandmother as they baked and bonded. Amid seemingly insurmountable financial constraints, Gigi unveiled Gigi's Cupcakes in 2008 and, within weeks, had more than covered her bills. Today, the franchise boasts more than 90 locations in the 25 states that haven't outlawed dessert.
Each bakery crafts its cupcakes daily with fresh ingredients, and updates the menu according to day of the week and season. Traditional summer flavors such as Scarlett's Red Velvet, chocolate-chip-cookie dough, and Birthday Surprise have recently met their culinary match in new mini cheesecakes that masquerade as cupcakes.
It's clear from their menu that Blacksmith's Bistro & Bar's cooks don't take things too seriously. They named a burger crowned with pimento cheese and russian dressing the "Gooey" and affectionately called a pulled duck sandwich smothered in cherry barbecue sauce "Duck Duck No Goose." Still, fried-chicken sliders with tomato jalapeño jam and mac 'n' cheese with chunks of andouille sausage and crawfish prove that they can create some serious eats.
That southern influence can be found at brunch, too, with entrees ranging from spicy barbecue shrimp served over cheese grits to buttermilk biscuits smothered in sausage gravy.
Feasts unfold in a down-home space where tables line wood-paneled walls and menus top wooden barrels that can later be used on the nearby Tennessee River to float customers home. At the bar, mixologists whip up craft cocktails.