Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
At Rita’s Ice, a variety of frozen treats refresh customers and satisfy sweet-tooth cravings. Their signature Italian ice blends ice and fresh fruit in flavors such as banana, cherry, piña colada, mango, and strawberry. Meanwhile, custard arrives in cups or cones, coated with hot fudge or caramel, as the mysterious gelati blends both Italian ice and custard into one delectable creation. Also available are milkshakes, hot chocolate, coffee, and Philadelphia-style hot pretzels.
Whether stopping in for fresh-baked scones and bread, ordering organic coffee, or perusing the fresh produce, guests at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, which is located along the Swamp Rabbit Bike Trail, are assured that the majority of the food is locally grown and produced. The staff prepares espresso drinks with local dairy and assembles boxes of seasonal produce for its grocery-store patrons. The grocery also carries raw cow and goat milk, local honey, and locally crafted chocolate. Swamp Rabbit continues its eco-friendly mission by hosting seasonal art markets, as well as an outdoor music series where donations go to community gardens.
The culinary crew at Crave It Bakery & Cafe mixes up sweet baked goods and savory café fare ranging from pies to turkey club wraps while catering to allergies of all varieties. Comestibles from the bakery sate sweet cravings with bags of cookies in a variety of saccharine persuasions ($1.50 each). Visitors browse cases stocked with scratch-made sweets such as fried apple hand pies ($1 each), pumpkin rolls ($2.50/slice or $14 for a whole roll), 8-inch sweet-potato cakes ($28), and a variety of gluten-free and vegan options for breaking pinky-promises to the tooth fairy.
Cakes Du Jour employs confectionary artists whose talents for crafting cakes has earned the bakery more than four stars on Project Wedding. To garner this type of praise, they ensure each dessert receives special attention, from three-tiered wedding cakes with intricate piping to 3-D cakes in forms such as My Little Pony and Tinker Bell. They also create mini treats in the forms of cupcakes and push pops, whose layers of cake and colored buttercream frosting come in clear canisters that can be pushed up with thumbs or outfitted with spring-loaded eject buttons. In addition to preparing sweet treats, the team shares its knowledge of dessert making with up to 10 kids during cupcake-decorating parties.
In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” super-computer Deep Thought is asked to calculate the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything—7.5 million years later, it arrives at the answer: 42. Most scholars have rejected this as a legitimate answer to the meaning of life, except for Yogurt King’s owner, Travis Linder. It’s no coincidence that 42 is the minimum number of sugary, nutty, and fruity toppings Travis keeps stocked in his topping bar. Evidence of the number 42 as a plausible answer to The Ultimate Question is smeared all over the sticky faces of Yogurt King’s customers. They shuffle out of Yogurt King in a satisfied daze usually reserved for monks who’ve just discovered how to levitate without arm floaties. Skeptics need only venture into the ocean-blue shop and pull on one of 12 levers, each dispensing a cascade of frozen yogurt in flavors such as pink lemonade, cookie batter, and mango tango. Should their life still feel empty after strewing their frosty dish with strawberries and peaches sourced from nearby Abbott Farms, they can take satisfaction in knowing that the universe really is meaningless, and fix their gaze on one of Yogurt King’s two flat-screen televisions.