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.
As the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, Baskin Robbins uses a network of over 7000 stores to supply customers with a bevy of customized cakes and specialty ice cream such as Brownie Sundaes. A host of a toppings cover cupped or sugar-coned scoops of classic flavors, while beverages such as the Cappuccino Blast Mocha combine energizing cappuccino with dessert indulgence.
It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
"Owner Madison Curry's warm, smiling presence is underscored by baked goods that all but dare not to be ordered." This quote from a NOLA.com article hints at Il Posto's charm. But it only encapsulates a fraction of what makes the cafe so interesting. Italian cuisine forms the backbone of the menu, which features paninis such as the Bologna with mortadella, roasted red peppers, and balsamic dressing, as well as fontina grilled cheeses with inventive add-ins such as tuna, honey, and walnuts. Antipasti spreads can be built from a choice of meats or cheeses. In the mornings, on the other hand, the restaurant brews and serves its own house-blend coffee. Their java complements bagels, organic granola, and a rotating selection of pastries that can't stay long, as they have to get back to starring in peoples' dreams.
The recipes at Tee-Eva's Old Fashioned Pies and Pralines roll five generations deep. Eva Louis Perry?known as Aunt Eva?opened her shop in 1989 to sell pralines and pies made from her grandmother's recipes. After making a name for herself with features in national magazines and on television, she passed the entire business, recipes and all, down to her own granddaughter in 2000. The pralines tempt sweet teeth with creamy richness punctuated by the crunch of pecan, while the pecan and sweet-potato pies are crafted with authentic, never reconstituted, Louisianan Cajun and creole spices.
The decor of the Kupcakes Etc., with its alternating lines of dark and light lime green, brings to mind the crinkled ridges and grooves of a cupcake wrapper, perhaps putting visitors in the mood to select from the menu's 20 cake and frosting flavors. Strawberry-shortcake, lemon-meringue, and red velvet cupcakes can be consumed in one of four sizes, ranging from bite-size minis to gigantic cakes that feed up to 10 people. Cakes can be decorated with chocolate candies and multicolored sprinkles, which sends out a festive vibe—much like hitting a piñata with a folded Ouija board does.