At Lorenzo's Bistro and Bakery, the bakers make their own dough from scratch for crusty breads baked on the hearth. Every day, visitors can stop in for the warm baguettes, challah, and french bread, as well as daily specials such as Sunday's cracked-wheat loaves.
But the bread is just the start of the culinary journey, which executive chef Wess Rose executes with an eye toward contemporary American dishes and Euro-American influences. Elegant steak, seafood, and pasta join surprise touches, such as the chefs' take on a louisville hot brown—smoked shaved turkey breast atop fresh challah bread topped with tomatoes, cheddar jack mornay sauce, crispy bacon, and chives. Charbroiled salmon fillets glisten with raspberry barbecue glaze, and marinated portobellos and vegetable medleys stuff puff pastries to create vegetable wellingtons, which are topped with pesto and feta.
In the restaurant's foyer, the staff mans a market where people can grab cups of coffee or pick up ready-to-eat entrees to take home. In addition to the breads, customers often drop by to pick up muffins, scones, and sandwiches for meals on the go that are tastier than oatmeal in a tube.
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.
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).
The ambrosial architects at Bits & Pieces Premium Ice Cream & Desserts squelch the cries of sugar-craving sweet teeth with a menu of fresh, homemade desserts. Rotating flavors of ice cream, such as oatmeal raisin, no-bake cookie, and apple crisp, stuff waffle cones in one- ($2.99) or two-scoop ($3.65) increments. Eager tongues lap up creamy milkshakes ($3.45 for 16-ounce) or malts ($3.70 for 16-ounce), and bananas cower from taste buds and mouth ghosts under the banana split's double topping of frozen dairy ($3.75). Like a batch of edible diamonds but less common, specialty sundaes, available in Rockin' Reese, Awesome Oreo, or Butterfinger Blast ($4), keep tooth caves sparkling with saccharine delights. Encouraging customer ingenuity, the innovative proprietors at Bits & Pieces welcome flavor suggestions and have fabricated an array of creative concoctions from jalapeño chocolate to green tea.
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.