It's likely that when walking into a Big Apple Bagels, people won't just see baskets overflowing with fresh bagels, but they'll be able to smell fresh dough baking in the air. That's because bagels are both made and sold at each location, giving customers the chance to order up warm, chewy bagels in gourmet flavors such as blueberry cobbler and quiche lorraine. The cream cheeses are similarly diverse in flavor, as people can smear their bagels with onion chive, cheddar jalapeno, or whipped brown-sugar cinnamon. The menu also features New York-style deli sandwiches served on bagels and freshly tossed salads.
BAB serves products from their two sister brands, Brewster's Coffee and My Favorite Muffin, the latter of which uses soybean oil to keep their muffins moist yet low in cholesterol. Many locations also serve Fresh?ns smoothies, whose ripe-fruit blends are rich with healthy vitamins because unhealthy vitamins don't exist.
Joined by her husband and close friends, founder Denise Mehl sought to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment. The result is Jungle Java, where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's café carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.
For more than 35 years, Mastro's Ice Cream has brought smiles to the faces of customers of all ages with hand-dipped cones towering with ice cream in flavors such as black cherry, maple walnut, and Mackinaw Island fudge. Less than a nautical mile from the shores of Lake St. Clair, the air-conditioned ice cream shop houses more than 40 flavors of creamy goodness from Stroh's, as well as frozen custard, flurries, drumsticks, and waffle cones. Hand-spun malts made with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry offer ice-cold sips of old-fashioned flavor, while fresh fruit smoothies deliver doses of Vitamin C. And to ensure eat treat is perfectly tasty and not mashed potatoes in disguise, the staff taste and test all their treats and flavors.
In 1975, newlyweds Pete and Laura Wakeman solidified their marriage by hiking the entire north-south length of Montana. They’d traveled a long way from Cornell University, where they discovered a mutual talent for baking bread that helped pay their tuition. Their passion stuck with them after graduation, prompting them to stay in Montana and establish Great Harvest Bread, their first bakery. Since then, the small bakery has blossomed into a national franchise with 200 locations across the United States and several pending locations on the United States’ half of the moon. Each of Great Harvest Bread’s locations operates as an independent bakery, with its kitchen run and recipes devised by an independent owner. Many of these bakeries craft their menu around the company’s focus on whole-wheat bread, using ingredients such as wheat harvested from independent farms, fresh-milled whole-grain flour, and unbleached white flour. They also inundate loaves with berries, nuts, cheeses, and herbs and create their own desserts.
Historic Custard Stand | Weekly Flavor Specials | Landscaped Picnic Area
When to Go: Unfortunately, Erma's Frozen Custard can't cure the winter blues, as it's only open from April 1 to Halloween night. When they are open, though, expect long lines during peak hours. CBS Detroit—who named Erma's one of the city's best spots for frozen custard in 2012—suggests heading over on weekdays before 5 p.m. for a shorter wait time.
Where to Sit: Head to Erma's landscaped backyard and grab a seat at one of the picnic tables nestled among flower patches and shady trees.
Inside Tip: Don’t hold up the line with indecision. Instead, stay abreast of Erma's weekly flavor specials before visiting. These always include two custards (past options range from french toast to dutch apple pie) and one nondairy, fat-free italian ice, such as blue raspberry.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Work up a sweat in nearby Troy at the Sanctuary Lake Golf Course (1450 East South Boulevard), whose signature course unfurls across 190 acres of undulating bunkers and greens.
After: Perfect your poker face at The River (48762 Van Dyke Avenue), a lounge whose twice-daily tournaments benefit different charities.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: When Erma's original stand—built in 1942 and deemed a Shelby Township historic landmark since 2010—is too busy, head to its newest location in Warren.
Before they scoop ice cream into a waffle cone, whip it into a smooth chocolate shake, or pack it in pints, quarts, or half-gallons to carry home, the dessert masters at Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream Parlor have to craft the ice cream from a 14% butter fat ice cream mix. This mix is what gives the old-fashioned ice cream its smooth and creamy texture—an ideal canvas to cover with whole nuts, real fruit chunks, and fudge caramel, much like any canvas hanging in a museum. The scoop-wielders dole out 44 flavors in all, including exotic recipes such as Majestic Milky Way and maple-walnut alongside the old standbys of chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan.