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.
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.
Equipment: Real Ryder and Lemond Bikes, Lululemon yoga accessories, Everlast box
Students should bring: A bottle for water. We have purified water and towel service.
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 30?60 minutes
Number of Staff: 11?25 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Bring a friend. Having a workout buddy motivates both of you and makes it more fun.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
Our trainers keep it fun by changing things up all the time. Whether it's cycling, yoga, or group fitness, each day is different. And we focus on balance in working out?cardio, strength, and flexibility are all part of our program at Thrive.
What's the most radical physical transformation you've seen a client make?
We have a client in his early 60s who has absolutely transformed his body by consistent exercise and training and good nutrition. He credits his personal trainer, but really he's done all the hard work. And it shows.
Sweating to the oldies is acceptable, but sweating to the blues less so. Do you find that certain styles and genres of music generate more intense workouts?
Music motivates movement; there's no question. We have a great mix of instructors who play a wide variety of music, including original mixes from one of our DJ instructors. You'll find rock and roll, jazz, reggae and lots of electronic dance tracks here. And we have a disco ball in the cycle studio.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Thrive is all about functional fitness?that is, keeping people healthy as they move through all phases of their life. Our clients range in age from rom the twenties to the seventies. Even though their fitness needs differ, their goals are basically the same: to stay healthy and fit. It's our challenge to help them. We think we do a great job; at least, they tell us that we do.
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.
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.
As part of their focus on local sustainability, the chefs at Chato Brasserie rotate their menu seasonally, constantly updating the menu of classic American cuisine with ingredients ranging from fresh tilefish to sweet-potato purées. Voted Best New Restaurant in 2011 by CityScope magazine, the eatery complements its casual dining room with both an outdoor patio and a private chef's table, where patrons dig in to a personalized tasting menu with exclusive tastings from the wine list. Drinks are always part of the Chato experience, however, as bartenders craft a variety of smooth brunch and dinner cocktails.