Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
The cooks at Blue & Gold Pizza fashion fresh dough into thin crusts, thick crusts, and deep Chicago-style pan crusts before layering on housemade tomato sauce and cheese from the Grande Cheese Company. They also prepare loaded salads, seasoned bread sticks, and sausage sandwiches on italian bread. Daring diners can take on the Blue & Gold Pizza eating challenge: downing an entire 12-inch Chicago-style pizza that, according to EatFeats, weighs 6 pounds, in 45 minutes or less.
Cookies by Design distributes tasty, seasonal greetings in the form of gourmet cookie bouquets, specially crafted for holidays and festive occasions. Cookies weigh in at about 4 ounces each, and reach doorsteps or inflatable castles freshly baked and hand-decorated with detailed edibles that add imagination to each sugary bite. A creepy cast of characters, including witches, ghosts, and pumpkins, congregates inside Halloween arrangements, and Thanksgiving baskets host a healthy harvest of vibrant leaves and sunflowers. Christmas baskets soar to destinations to help celebrate the holidays or successful avoidance of jury duty.
In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
Lindo Mexico is not the first Mexican restaurant the Bravo family has run?not by a long shot. Their first restaurant opened more than 20 years ago, and a series of successes helped them open additional locations. When the economy turned, neighboring restaurants began to close for business, but instead of despairing, the Bravo brothers only worked harder. After all, a childhood spent on a ranch in Jalisco, Mexico had granted them with the grit, determination, and knowledge of vegetable emotions they'd need to persevere in the restaurant business. This attitude paid off. After a few years, business began to pick up again, and the brothers had the finances to do some decorating: exotic, vibrant wood carvings imported from Guadalajara now cover the walls of both Lindo Mexico locations, adding to the festive colors of the tables and chairs.
Today, diners flock to Lindo Mexico for a range of authentic dishes hailing from Jalisco and beyond. Classics such as chili verde burritos, fish tacos, and grilled-chicken quesadillas share menu space with seafood specialties including camarones costa azul, a dish of whole shrimp simmered in spices and garnished with dried chile arbol, cucumber, and orange slices. There are also a few more inventive items?the Lindo Mexico pizza, for instance, layers shrimp, steak and chicken with melted cheese and veggies between two flour tortillas. Mexican beers on draft and in bottles join margaritas in more than seven flavors to complement each zesty aroma.
Misty and Josh Barnett, owners of Three J's Pizza, named their pizza joint after their three kids, Jeremiah, Joslyn, and Josiah. The family-minded eatery serves everything from the 10-topping Jaegar pizza to pastas, meatball sandwiches, homemade breadsticks, and cinnamon sticks. The kitchen staff even encourages customers to submit their own creations, whether they're topping combinations for pizza or blueprints for meatball-made houses.