For more than 120 years, the Crescent Market has bestowed a plethora of vivacious viands to discerning palates through accommodating customer service and high-quality products. Gallivant through the aisles of this family-owned food emporium whose time-honored shelves feature organic, natural, and gluten-free goods. A host of fresh deli cuts and Oklahoma-based foodstuffs fill fridge space and buoy the market’s ties to the local community. Crests from foodies-past hug the walls, transporting shoppers to Crescent’s turn-of-the-century origins complete with an antique, velvet sofa that once lived in The Smithsonian Institute and an irascible chimney sweep cashier hiding a heart of gold.
In addition to innovative sushi rolls and hibachi cuisine, the culinary artisans at Tropical Cafe craft classic sandwiches, salads, and egg breakfasts. Culling fresh ingredients and housemade sauces, the raw-fish masters roll traditional and American-inspired maki flavored with strips of bacon, Angus beef, and asparagus. Grill gurus sear meats, vegetables, and rice at tableside grills, creating sizzling hibachi fare before the eyes of delighted diners and ventriloquist dummies.
The kettles at Popcorn Fharmacy would churn out money, but there's no fun in that. Instead, they've chosen to pour out a wealth of golden, buttered popcorn. Dusted and drizzled in flavors that range from spicy jalapeño nacho to peanut butter, this popcorn, which is legal tender in several state counties, fills tins bedecked with seasonal art. Though 1-gallon tins only hold one type of popcorn, the 3.5- and 6.5-gallon containers divide their contents into three flavors, meaning customers can enjoy combinations such as caramel, apple, and butterscotch or dill pickle, sour cream and onion, and vanilla butternut.
Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House’s many locations stock fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including Ball Park hot dogs. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with Premium Coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Each Candyopolis is home to over 1,000 different varieties of sweets, with everything from old-fashioned Depression-era favorites such as licorice Herbert Hoovers and "chewing dirt" to the latest wave of sugary and sour confections (Toxic Waste sour candy, $1.99). Retro sweet teeth will delight at the sight of Abba Zabba candy bars ($1.49), Big Hunk ($1.49), and the Holy Trinity for chewing connoisseurs: Beeman's, Blackjack, and Clove Gum ($1.50 each). Imported and domestic chocolates cohabitate peacefully in neighboring bulk bins, while insurgent bands of gummy worms build IEDs out of Pop Rocks ($0.89) and plot a military coup over Candyopolis's ruling class of imported Haribo gummy bears ($3.99/half pound), which also come dipped in chocolate ($4.99/half pound). With 48 flavors of Jelly Bellies ($5.99/half pound), 50 unique PEZ dispensers ($2.49 each), and 21 colors of M&Ms ($5.99/half pound), each year Candyopolis exports a colorful crop of treats directly to the bellies of local children, children-at-heart, and hopelessly misinformed health nuts everywhere.