Since 1999, when Pete A. Cisneros Sr. opened Pappy's Coffee Shop, the rustic, homestyle eatery has attracted locals with generous portions of classic American diner food. From 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, chefs sizzle eggs alongside chicken-fried steak, jumbo cuts of ham, or fried bologna, and pile plates with seven-grain pancakes and waffles. Their 8-ounce burgers can arrive with Freedom fries or fried okra, and charming, 1-quart mason jars of cold soft drinks. The walls boast American and oil-rig-inspired memorabilia, creating an ambiance more down-home and eclectic than the vintage furniture-juggling contest at the state fair.
Stephanie Caughell forged her career without compromise. Growing up, she wanted to be both an artist and a chef, so she followed her passions to pastry school, then to the kitchens of renowned dessert masters. Incorporating tips from celebrity chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali, Stephanie creates eye-catching cakes and cupcakes from scratch for her shop, Gimme Some Sugar.
Stephanie preps sweet treats for any occasion—whether it's a walk-in cupcake craving or a large wedding. Her versatility is reflected in each cake's presentation: some are elegant towers with petals or ivy winding down the sides, whereas others are carved into fairytale castles, designer handbags, or even Homer Simpson. They come in flavors such as cinnamon swirl and confetti, and hide cream fillings within their decadent tiers and hidden sub-frosting crawlspaces.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
Locals linger at the counters of Cope’s Knotty Pine Cafe, chatting over steaming cups of coffee. Antiques and knickknacks speckle the wheat-hued wooden walls above booths and tables. Behind the counter, servers bustle, warmed by a griddle, and balance plates of omelets, burgers, and fried seafood. The dishes are all forged from recipes that might have been passed down through generations or discovered in extremely rough drafts of the Constitution.
A locally owned business, Dagny’s has been slinging rejuvenating cups of java to Bakersfield residents since the mid ‘90s. Stop in to fill up a fuel tank with a small espresso ($1.50) or macciato ($2.50) while noshing on a fresh bagel ($1.50), scone ($2.25), or muffin ($2.25). Ponder the meaning of last night’s freakishly surrealist dreams with a crisp salad ($8.50) or hearty sandwich ($8.50). While visiting, kick back amid the laid-back ambience and enjoy the free WiFi access. Stick around to check out the regularly featured live music. Free of bawdy lumberjacks carelessly showing off their beard-growing skills, Dagny’s Coffee Company offers a friendly spot for soaking up good vibes and relaxing with friends.
Founded to stage bold new theatrical works, Spotlight Theatre presents classics, dramas, comedies, and musicals. The theater boasts high-caliber production quality, homegrown talent, and a suspended net of tapioca-filled balloons to be dropped on audience members that linger too long after the show. The 2010–2011 season (the theater's eleventh) features nine works, including adaptations of Hamlet, The Producers, and Dreamgirls. The Drowsy Chaperone offers the whimsical tale of a diehard musical-theater fan that plays his favorite cast album and then watches in awe as the music literally bursts into life. The Great American Trailer Park Musical tells the story of a ménage à trois involving Pippi (a stripper on the run) and a married couple living in a trailer park in Florida, with a special appearance by a chorus line of trained tap-dancing alligators during intermission.