Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's self-serve bar dishes out 16 flavors and 40 topping varieties as a healthy alternative to traditional desserts. Customers can fill bright-orange cups or upgrade the contents of a toy ice-cream truck with chilly swirls ($0.45/oz.) from the shop’s stainless-steel dispensers, which stock traditional chocolate and fruit-infused varieties as well as flavor blends such as peanut butter and lactose-free pineapple. Spoonfuls of fresh fruit, nuts, and candy ($0.45/ounce) add a kick of contrasting colors and textures to creamy peaks. Tropical tones blanket Orange Leaf's kid-friendly interior, a spacious retreat for palates with an area for onsite consumption or off-the-cuff games of Webster trivia.
One foot across, and two-and-a-half feet tall. That?s an estimate of the dimensions of the mammoth Levee High Apple Pie. The pie?made with no fewer than 18 hand-sliced and hand-placed golden delicious apples?is something of a local celebrity: it was named one of Oprah?s ?Favorite Things?, featured on the Today Show, profiled on the Food Network?s Paula?s Party, and honored with the Nobel Pie Prize. Tipping the scales at 10 pounds, the apple pie feeds eight and has become so popular, its creator, The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery, now ships frozen versions around the country to make stunning appearances at home tables year-round.
But anvil-sized desserts aren?t the only reason locals flock to The Blue Owl. A whole menu of casual comfort foods beckons with options such as biscuits and gravy, hot roast beef sandwiches, fried chicken, and fresh tossed strawberry salad. Yet homemade fruit pies, cream pies, cheesecakes, and wedding cakes are still the restaurant's biggest claim to fame, and have been since 1985. That's the year that local baker Mary Hostetter (whose homemade baked goods had taken area fairs and festivals by storm), blended her home-based business with that of the legendary Blue Owl Restaurant. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Whether she’s baking for a birthday party or to simply sate a sweet craving, Melissa “Missy” Armbrecht is hard at work in the kitchen. At the cozy Let Them Eat Cake Balls kitchen—conveniently located inside of Missy's very own home—she crafts decadent cake balls and pops for clients across Waterloo and the St. Louis area. In total, she concocts nearly two-dozen flavors ranging from traditional chocolate and vanilla to more complex creations, such as mandarin orange or s’mores varieties. She also allows customers to order treats by the dozen and welcomes requests for custom decorations, such as soccer balls for a post-game party or heart-shaped bites for the anniversary of your first Cupid sighting. Determined to monitor quality from oven to table, Missy delivers all orders herself and can travel to customers located within 15 miles of Waterloo.
Mokka Cafe, Inc. has all the trimmings of an ideal coffee shop?drip coffee and cappuccinos, freshly baked scones and gooey butter cake, and intimate tables for reading, working, or dreaming up a new kind of toaster oven. The quaint shop, flanked by burgundy walls and a huge chalkboard displaying upcoming music performances and other events, also supplies heartier meals in the form of omelets and pancakes in the morning and sandwiches and wraps and salads come lunchtime.
Romance is in the air at Cafe Palermo, and not just because it's owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Nick and Julie Nicoletti. In homage to Sicilian caf?s, antique leaded-glass panels accent the room, and green fronds of ivy and other live plants drift from the walls. Diners order from a menu of classic Italian dishes made from family recipes, most cooked to order by the Nicolettis themselves. In a nod to local tastes, they stuff some dishes with creamy provel cheese instead of plating them on Blues hockey pucks. Cheesecakes handcrafted by Julie provide a sweet finish or can be ordered whole to take home. The romantic atmosphere extends onto the patio, where a fountain bubbles and herbs and flowers lend their scents to the breeze.
The friendly staff at Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery churns dozens of creamy flavors fresh each day before enhancing frozen creations with inventive mix-ins and toppings. They power through shivers to fold nuts, candy, and fruit into ice-cream varieties such as chocolate banana, and sprinkle sugary toppings over ice-cream pizzas, one of Maggie Moo's signature creations. Aside from other avant-garde dessert offerings—which include ice-cream cupcakes—the staff slings frozen favorites including cones, creamy milkshakes, and ice-cream cakes.
Occasional appearances by Miss Maggie Moo, the business's iconic cow, delight customers. She also lends her services to fundraising efforts for local schools and charities.