On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
Founded nearly 25 years ago on a frozen foundation of nonporous, 5-degree granite, Cold Stone Creamery has blossomed into a nationally recognized ice-cream parlor distinguished by its daily creations of sweet treats. Fruit, nuts, and candy collaborate with ice-cream flavors such as french vanilla, sweet cream, and cake batter to manifest a signature sundae or a personalized creation made to match customers' tastes and 5th-birthday-party footage. Smoothies and shakes sate sippers, and fruity sorbets, nonfat ice creams, and tangy frozen yogurt satisfy the need for healthy indulgences.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab?s original recipe, enticing customer's eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies. An ice cream chef then hand-folds these ingredients into the ice cream atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom flavor into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery sends customers home with ice cream cakes with customized flavors and mix-ins, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts. The store's catering team can even spruce up a corporate get-together or school function by bringing in a sundae bar.
At each Tropical Smoothie Cafe location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The café’s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic açaí and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.
The team of fruit mixologists at Planet Smoothie has nothing to hide when it comes to making its cold creations. Whether blending a weight-loss smoothie or a protein shake, the team knows exactly what's going into each of its concoctions—which consist primarily of fresh fruit and yogurt—and recite the all-natural ingredients list at customers' behest or unprompted, in the middle of the night, just for the joy of it. Every day, customers can choose from the shop’s list of proven-delicious smoothie combinations or come up with their own custom mixes with ingredients such as mango and açaí or add-ins such as oatmeal or super greens. This commitment to healthy, no-nonsense smoothies started at a single store in Atlanta in 1995 and has fueled Planet Smoothie's constant pursuit of healthier and tastier ingredients to add to its list, which includes the newer addition of a low-calorie sweetener made from the extracts of stevia and agave plants.