In its centennial year, Williams Bakery’s batter mixers fill the air with the aroma of just-baked breads, cakes, pies, and pastries made from scratch every day. Ciabatta or loaf breads ($2.59–$2.99) house sandwich fillers without relying on crutches such as preservatives or flying buttresses made of toothpicks. Patrons can transform humdrum mealtimes with life-changing desserts such as Mom’s carrot cake, chocolate-lover’s cake ($12.99+), or pecan pie ($9.69). Oodles of pastries ($1.19+) and stacks of cookies by the dozen ($3.59) perch on kitchen counters and peek out from state-of-the-art cookie receptacles.
Owner and certified pastry chef Peggy Johnson whips up tasty southern and traditional cakes and other treats using high-quality ingredients and a keen aesthetic flair. Southern sweets such as the sweet-potato pound cake and the ever-popular banana-pudding cake are available by the slice ($2.50–$3) to replace missing Trivial Pursuit pieces. The Punch Bowl cake floats strawberries, walnuts, coconut, cherries, and pineapple in a sea of whipped cream ($3/slice), and the Sock-It-To-Me cake intermixes fluffy layers with cinnamon and pecans ($2.50/slice). Peggy also waters mouths with brownies ($1.29 each), cookies ($0.50 each), and strategically placed sprinklers.
Stir Crazy Cafe outfits its quaint dining room and sun-soaked patio with all the accouterments for a cozy afternoon. Baristas brew steaming cups of Rostov's coffee and Black Hand espresso drinks. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cooks fill the shop with the scent of pastries, wraps, and sandwiches, all of which pair nicely with the selection of wines and beers. Giving guests all the incentive they need to leave room for dessert, they also serve up Pearl's Cupcakes and a collection of fresh pies.
Idyllic memories seem to be baked right into each of the desserts at Mo's Sweet Minis. A bite of a marshmallow-frosted s’mores cupcake, for example, might trigger flashbacks of a flickering campfire, and the jelly-filled peanut-butter cupcake might take one back to the sandwich days of childhood. There seems to be a flavor for every mood.
The bakers crack eggs, sift flour, and measure out sugar to bake treats fresh and build giant dough-snowmen each day. Cupcakes aren’t their only specialty; they also offer cookies, banana pudding, and other sweets. If desired, they’ll concoct low-fat and low-sugar versions of their desserts. Patrons can also request event packages with cupcake towers, tablecloths, napkins, and special menus.
Tropical Smoothie Café's wholesome smoothies are filled to the gills with fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, chocolate, nuts, and healthful supplements, minimizing the crushing guilt of dessert consumption to a soft heartbeat emanating from the floorboards. Puréed potions such as pomegranate plunge (pomegranate, banana, strawberries, and cranberry; $4.79) are stuffed with super fruit, and low-fat options, such as mango magic (mango, pineapples, and non-fat yogurt; $4.29), trick gullible taste buds into believing that they are traversing a candy factory full of whipped-cream lollipops. Supercharged smoothies are stocked with a healthy dose of supplements, such as the kiwi citrus green tea's antioxidant-laden matcha charge or the muscle blaster's whey or soy protein ($4.79 each). Individual supplements can also be added to any other smoothie ($0.79 extra), boosting its magic points by +10.
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.
The enticing aromas of housemade cupcakes and fried sweet-potato pies waft from Slice of Grace Bakery Boutique’s kitchen, where a team of bakers concocts new variations on traditional Southern treats. Their penchant for integrating unusual flavors into old-fashioned desserts has earned them national attention on programs such as The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Cupcake Wars.
The bakery’s recent surge in popularity hasn’t changed its formula for success; the bakers still start from scratch early each morning, filling the shop’s display case with frosting-swirled cupcakes in flavors such as strawberry shortcake, chocolate peanut butter, and maple-bacon cider topped with sprinkles of actual bacon. Fans of the miniature treats can build their own full-size cake, as the bakery’s gallery of custom creations will attest. Aside from their flagship cakes and fluffy whoopie pies, boxed lunches with a sandwich, a choice of side, a cupcake, and utensils for mixing all three together offer a change of pace.