A glass display case of colorful cakes, cookies, and pastries greets guests as they enter Clayton Bakery & Cafe, along with the enticing aroma of freshly baking bread. The family-owned establishment staffs a team of local artisanal bakers and decorators, who use local and natural ingredients when whipping up baked goods and a lunch menu of hearty sandwiches, paninis, and daily soups. Chefs roast all of their beef and pork fresh each day, and distribute their signature rolls to local venues such as Laugh Out Loud and Clayton Steakhouse. Upon request, the bakery can inscribe customized cakes with birthday greetings, personal messages, or a favorite chapter from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
The self-taught baker behind Baby B’s Cupcakes isn’t beholden to anyone’s ideas about the limitations of the diminutive dessert. Inspired by the vast array of sweets and tarts available in the candy and fruit aisles, she creates recipes for over a dozen eclectic flavors, from traditional chocolate and red velvet to maple bacon, raspberry-white-chocolate, and peanut-butter-and-jelly. Frostings and fillings provide additional flavors—cream cheese, banana crème, and lemon—into the moist, decadent mini cakes. Upon request, she can etch customized designs onto cakes, such as birthday-worthy Spider-man figures or brussels sprouts to encourage kids to eat their veggies.
The bakers at Anna's Gourmet Banana Nut Bread, Inc. blend fresh, preservative-free ingredients into sticky, small batches of dough that emerge from ovens as moist, gourmet sweet breads and bundt cakes. The modest bakery serves up its signature sweet breads—which range in flavors from banana nut to sweet potato with pumpkin—amid the shops' small collection of chef figurines, which stand outside the open kitchen to inspire the staff and fend off sneak attacks from peckish G.I. Joes.
Entering the warm, inviting environment of Swift Creek Coffee House is like sleepwalking into a dream and being met at the gates of horn and ivory with a cup of steaming hot joe. The coffee house's friendly caffeine-dispensing agents are always alert and ready to prepare favorite espresso-based drinks, ranging from cappuccinos ($2.65+) to frappes ($3.50+) to experimental super-soldier lattes. Otherwise, start the day by stimulating senses with custom coffee roasts such as Jamaican Me Crazy or Swift Creek's own house blend ($1.45+). Fresh muffins ($1.85), mini scones ($1.85), cinnamon rolls ($1.99), and glazed donuts ($0.89) await sleep-encrusted eyes, ready to be dunked or combined into edible busts of yourself as you see fit. Swift Creek also stocks afternoon pick-me-ups and rewards for cleaning one's room in the form of scrumptious, made-from-scratch cookies from Sweet Carolina Gourmet.
From sprint triathlons to half-ironman distance races, cycling to running, FS Series knows the thrill of pushing yourself to surpass your old race times. The staff at FS Series enjoys a good race. Their passion drives them to create and host numerous races each year that challenge attendants to conquer land and water to reach the finish. With RFID Race Timing Systems, they get live, onsite records of racers’ start and finish times, rather than relying on an old man with a sundial.