Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$6.95 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with flour freshly milled on-site every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include asiago cheese & sun-dried tomato, cranberry orange, savory potato and pizza rolls, and parmesan pesto. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes sweet-tooth sating confections such as scones, muffins, cookies, and bars in flavors such as raspberry swirl and ginger.
David Stark, owner of the Bake Shoppe, picked up the art of baking at age 14, learning tricks of the trade at his uncle's bakery, Barbara's Bake Shop, in the mid-'60s. He now takes those lessons, proudly baking his goodies "the old-fashioned way," making red-velvet and creme de menth cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and moist banana bread from scratch, the way his uncle made them. The star of this bakestravaganza, however, is the champagne cake, which skyrocketed his uncle's bakery into becoming the largest retail bakery in Des Moines. He expertly transforms the family-secret recipe into eye-dazzling custom cakes, which are more like works of art than human sustenance, decked in fondant ribbons and flowers fit for the Queen of England's Afternoon of Scheduled Merriment.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded donut recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he couldn't keep the secret to himself. He opened up shop in 1937 to share the yeast-raised delectables with the world, thus marking the birth of Krispy Kreme.
Today, step into any Krispy Kreme shop and you can see the donuts progress on their journey from formless dough to circular confection. The entire process plays out through plate glass windows: the raw dough is shaped into disks, the disks rise in a heated oven, the plumped donuts then drop into the fryer where a conveyor belt speeds them along their journey. After cooling on the belt, the original donuts pass through a ribbon of glaze. Like a donut-shaped bat signal, a neon sign lights up the sky to announce the emergence of fresh, hot Krispy Kremes.
From the colorful checkered walls to the menu of hearty comfort food, the owners at Cozy Cafe strive to create a nostalgia-tinged dining experience. The vast menu is marked by the restaurant's specialty—Helen and Pat's cavatelli—as well as homemade entrees, including blue-plate specials of meatloaf, hot roast beef, or chicken and noodles, all served with homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. Staff serve up Friedrichs coffee drinks, and for breakfast, chefs flip the traditional array of omelets and pancakes and offer homemade cinnamon rolls as well as homemade biscuits and gravy.
Though many fro-yo shops have sprung up in recent years, TCBY is no newcomer to the scene. Since 1981, its shops have been scooping, swirling, and topping their lower-fat treat in crunchy candy and fruity sprinkles—but that doesn't mean they've been coasting. They're still innovating, whether it's tweaking standby flavors or developing their signature honey-vanilla Greek frozen yogurt that dishes out protein and fiber without any fat. Fro-yo artisans blend up Beriyo smoothies in flavors such as mangolada and purely peach or infuse Shivers with a choice of sweet topping options. To celebrate a birthday or a jury-duty-selection-pool reunion, you can opt for frozen yogurt cakes and pies. The piece-accommodating treats are layered with frozen yogurt and rich toppings to forge flavors such as chocolate decadence and peanut-buttery fudge pie.