Without any formal culinary training, Christina Hoehn started tinkering with cake balls for a baking competition at her workplace. Following her co-worker’s unanimous approval of her german-chocolate, peanut-butter, and red-velvet spheres, Christina decided to take a risk and create Cake Kisses. Working from a pallet of fruity and decadent flavors, her cake balls and cake pops earn rave reviews for their moist center and detailed designs. Christina decorates ornate scenes, such as a phalanx of cake balls in the shape of tiny birds, smiling pandas, or football helmets. Christina also works one-on-one with brides to create special cake-lings for weddings, building tiny treats that can replace the wedding cake or sub-in for ping-pong balls.
At the Root Café, the staff’s passion for food takes a backseat to their passion for community. That’s not to say they don’t love making their steaming cups of coffee, baked goods, and fruity smoothies, but the true reason behind their culinary efforts is to keep guests fed and happy during a range of community-oriented events. Each month the café features activities such as poetry readings, children’s playtime, comedy shows, and forums about current events, serving as a place for locals to hang out and build bonds. While the atmosphere is always jovial, clients who wish to get work done can utilize the shop’s free Wi-Fi.
Rockne Becker’s mantra of “great food fast,” has been translating into healthy meal choices for families in the greater Cuyahoga Falls area since the 1970s. With an eye toward developing that community, he hires and mentors students from the business programs at local high schools to work in his kitchen, where they prep sky-high deli sandwiches, slow-roast comfort-food classics, and toss fresh salads.
Metropolis Popcorn fills cups and bags with batches of popcorn cooked in cholesterol free coconut oil and mixed with a creative potpourri of candies and other tasty ingredients. Traditional mixes, such as super 3 cheese, sit side by side with a loaded baked potato-flavored batch. Big League Grape candied popcorn harkens back to gum-chewing childhoods, and nostalgia and taste further intertwine in overflowing bags of Girl Scout Cookies, which promise melted fudged cookies layered over every crispy mouthful.
Between the cherry-red walls of Near East Caffe, guests recline in leather lounge chairs or patterned couches, passing between them spooling hoses connected to ornate hookahs. From the metal and glass towers arrives delectable smoke, pulled from a selection of 100-plus flavors of shisha the lounge offers. Crackling coals burn flavors such as double apple, peach, strawberry, and ocean breeze, along with a variety of flavors from the Starbuzz brand. Customers can also pick and choose flavors to blend, creating concoctions such as lemon-mint or quadruple apple—named after the number of apples that fit in the average human mouth. As they sip on smoke, they can revel in conversation, take in sights from a couple of flat-screen televisions, or simply sit and enjoy the music-filled atmosphere.
Domenic's Pub is a classic sports bar featuring a menu of pub fare that's served until late (11 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Chow down on pizza, sandwiches, and wings capable of filling stomachs with that warm, fuzzy feeling normally only achieved by hunkering down in a Japanese kitten pit. The sliced prime-rib panini slathered with horseradish mayo and provolone comes au jus to allow for the delightful juice-to-bread exchange ($5). Specialty pizzas such as the Mediterranean (olive oil, shrimp, roasted red pepper, basil, and fresh mozzarella, $6) provide pre-sliced pabulum for bicker-free dining among the mixed company of friends, acquaintances, and old-timey industrial tycoons. Prove your mettle by downing a basket of hot wings, which can be lovingly chased by a pint of Labatt Blue, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, Guinness, or Miller Lite, all on draught.