Every week, one of Broadway Café’s baristas scrawls the weekly coffee special on the pastel chalkboard menu, eking out space alongside specialty pizzas, deli-style sandwiches, and salads. In addition to classic pies, such as meat lovers or margarita, cooks bake inventive iterations that include the buffalo chicken and the Rueben pizza, topped with shredded corn beef, swiss cheese, and kraut with a russian dressing sauce. Guests can also saunter in for breakfast sandwiches and wraps, all of which are available for catered events, such as birthdays, bat mitzvahs, and upscale bee attacks.
Outside, under a mammoth ice-cream cone, Arctic Island stands at the ready to sate sweet teeth and cool down overheated palates. Broadway Cafe's sister business slings soft-serve cones, scoops Premium Homemade Ice Cream flavors such as peppermint patty, and sprays whipped cream onto banana splits.
Channeling the artistic vision she developed as a graphic designer, Dessert Muse owner Melissa Port devises cupcakes that please both the eyes and the mouth. She crafts each made-to-order cupcake using secret recipes handed down from her grandmother and infuses them with one of 17 everyday flavors or 12 seasonal flavors that rotate monthly. Among the collection of everyday flavors are the classic red velvet with roasted-pecan cream-cheese frosting and the unique margarita, which features a citrus cupcake topped with lime buttercream and pinches of sea salt and lime zest. If you want a souvenir version of the cupcake you just ate, Dessert Muse also offers bite-sized miniature 'cakes available in all 29 flavors.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.
The Deli Downtown keeps it simple. They serve comforting American cuisine of baked-daily bagels, as well as inventive sandwiches made with tangy balsamic dressing, fresh mozzarella, smoked turkey, and homemade focaccia bread. An air of nostalgia permeates the restaurant, with its chessboard linoleum floors, silver-and-vinyl soda-fountain stools, and red-neon accents. The savory smells of toasted reuben and turkey-club sandwiches fill the remaining air as chefs labor at the panini press. For those who refuse to conform, diners can plot out their meal to perfect specificity with the build-your-own-sandwich menu.
Tina Corso Hess and her team of bakers follow their own special recipe to craft artful cookie bouquets. Her signature cookie is a modified version of the classic shortbread with a softer texture that melts in your mouth. The Syracuse-based team bedecks 5–12 cookies with royal frosting, with a variety of designs that are ideal for birthdays, holidays, or a friend who just found out he's not the heir to a famous candy factory. Each 4- to 5-inch cookie is individually wrapped to preserve its design, keeping it fresh for up to 90 days without refrigeration.