The Bagel Bin vends 28 bagel varieties to Deerfield residents and early morning, Milwaukee Ave. commuters. Since its founding in 1993, the business has opened daily at 6:00 a.m. to accommodate early risers. Bakers churn out their carbs entirely from scratch to populate café-style breakfast and lunch menus. The Bagel Bin also spreads its breads far and wide, disseminating its bagels wholesale to cafeterias and doughnut counterfeiting operations.
The artful bakers at Upper Crust Bagels craft more than 15 varieties of kettle-boiled New York–style bagels fresh daily. The dough wizards work through the night to forge the circular comestibles, deftly mixing, shaping, and punching out their centers to ensure that they rise from their nocturnal slumber. Esurient shoppers can construct a baker’s dozen of flavor halos, populating their assembly with savory and sweet denizens such as sundried tomato, pumpernickel, and chocolate chip, along with a plain bagel for frills-free palates. Once a phalanx of 13 disks has been bagged up, nibblers appoint one of Upper Crust’s freshly whipped cream cheeses to the role of bagel haberdasher, cloaking floury plains with rich layers of spreads such as light lox spread or cheddar cheese.
Everything about Eggsperience Pancakes & Cafe is bright, warm, and sunny. Natural light floods the restaurant's eight locations, which sprinkle across Chicago and its suburbs like powdered sugar over a slice of french toast. Orange and yellow walls surround every dining room, and some locations have fireplaces, which make ideal places to sip Ghirardelli hot chocolate or espresso beverages. Even the food is colorful. Fresh fruits—either in solid or juice form—complement dishes such as the Mediterranean omelette, baked in the French style and filled with a vibrant medley of spinach, tomatoes, olives, and imported feta cheese.
Those omelettes, like what most of what comes from Eggsperience's kitchen, start with grade-AA, farm-fresh eggs. The chefs work magic with those eggs, whipping them into frittatas and poaching them for five different "Eggsquisite Benedicts." They also use them to create their signature pancake batter, but in this case, eggs are only the beginning. Strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits mix into the pancakes.
The creativity shown with those pancakes and egg dishes extends to dozens of other breakfast items, and diners could spend countless mornings at Eggsperience without boring their taste buds. The chefs don't stop at breakfast, either. They simply transition to lunch, when they grill Cajun avocado burgers and pair gourmet chicken-salad sandwiches with a soup of the day.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
As the eponymous owner of Marla's Sweet Bites, Marla Levitt ensures that every morning the bakery’s display cases brim with fragrant batches of freshly baked treats, which her staff prepares fresh and without additives or preservatives. The store's selection changes daily, much like the speed of light, although saccharine-savvy customers can keep an eye out for such perennial favorites as the apple crumble pie and the miniature or jumbo cupcakes glazed with the bakery's signature italian buttercream icing. Marla's Sweet Bites also supplies events with do-it-yourself cupcake-decorating bars, which allow guests to either express their confectionery creativity or use the frosting to accessorize their clothing with perfectly piped initials.