Since 1987, the bakers at Just Cookies have tirelessly dreamt up new variations of their made-from-scratch namesake. Those brainstorming sessions have resulted in eclectic flavors that range from white peanut butter and blueberry muffin to preservative-free sugar cookies topped with handmade icing. But they have also yielded alternative cooking methods, such as the popular no-bake chocolate oatmeal and no-bake peanut butter cookies. Despite the cookie stand’s name, its baking team dabbles in other sweet treats, including cookie cakes and made-from-scratch brownies. To accompany each sugary bite, Just Cookies stocks a diverse selection of soft drinks, including freshly brewed tea and energy drinks.
Each day at his candy shop, Mike Libs simmers sugar, cream, and butter in a vat before pouring the syrupy mix onto a steel slab and kneading it into fudge. He mastered this old-fashioned candy-making technique under the tutelage of his parents, who opened their chocolate store, Libs Chocolates, in downtown Evansville in 1950. Now at his own shop, Mike upholds his family's legacy by preparing classic treats such as peanut brittle, cream-filled chocolates, and edible busts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Similarly, his sunlit storefront nabs motifs from his parents' candy shop, with red- and white-striped display cases to match servers' bright-red aprons.
La Sombra perks up tired taste buds with a bevy of beaned beauties alongside an assortment of savory stomach fillers. Caffeine cravers can stock up on cups of brewed coffee, sips of espresso, and slurps of lattes, all of which sport the café's small-batch-roasted beans ($1.25–$4.47). Those craving more solid states of matter can peruse La Sombra's menu of breakfast and lunch edibles, including the breakfast egg sandwich, which comes with your choice of sausage or bacon nestled between the doughy arms of a croissant or english muffin ($3.50), and the tuna-stuffed pita, donning a charming crown of alfalfa sprouts ($6.45). Eaters can also always opt to skip the arduous task of chewing for the audibly pleasurable duty of slurping with the soup of the day ($3.50 for a cup, $4.50 for a bowl).
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.
Hailed by Evansville Living readers as having 2011’s Best Chicken Salad, Maxine’s Cafe and Bakery appeases local appetites with a diverse selection of handcrafted salads, sandwiches, and sweets. Each day, pastry chef Terry Spindler dispatches armies of lemon bars, chocolate-dipped macaroons, and baklava to the upper level of his chockablock bakery case ($0.75 each), where they oversee tortes ($3.50–$3.75 per slice), whole cakes ($34–$45), and sugar-free specialties ($1.60–$3.75) awaiting purchase or skirmish. All fresh menu fare is built from the ground up, with a savory spotlight on cold salads such as Maxine’s curry chicken salad—one of three house chicken salads—which tosses white meat chicken, golden raisins, and celery in a curry mayo dressing ($7.99/lb.), and meatless eats including dill potato salad, with red bliss potatoes, celery, and sweet onion enveloped in a dill-mayo dressing ($6.99/lb.). Deli sandwiches stuffed with Boar’s Head ham and turkey also stand prepared to foxtrot their way into needy bellies ($5.85).
Opened in 1949 as Zesto Drive-In, Zesto flips, fries, and scoops a variety of bun- and cone-moored treats. Succulent hamburgers with pickle and onion luxuriate between the crispy edges of their buns ($1.04), and jumbo, double- and triple-jumbo cheeseburgers ($1.78–$3.75) test the structure of meat and carbohydrate architecture. The quarter-pound Big Hug burger meal embraces cheese, mayo, bun, and the nearest weeping child to murmur words of delicious comfort alongside a medium fry and drink ($5.32). Crispy seasoned fries await cheddar cheese ($2.89) and chili ($3.89), and refreshing soft-serve ice cream cascades into cones ($0.75–$1.78) and swirls itself into shakes ($2.10–$4.44). When called upon by helpless citizens, the Zesto menu strips away its burger exterior to reveal an armory of hot dogs, sandwiches, slushies, and sundaes.