Shannon Sylvia draws upon 20 years as a graphic designer while guiding a frosting-cloaked spatula across made-to-order confections at Shancakes. The shop’s 27 flavors of batter, which range from lemon to devil’s food cake, bake into everything from tiered cakes to dainty cupcakes. Staffers coat the treats in made-from-scratch buttercream or decorate them in the same fondant used on the TV show Cake Boss. The customizable goodies, which come in gluten- and sugar-free incarnations, can be adapted to suit occasions from birthdays to drills to make sure the President is ready for his birthday. In addition to cakes in the form of guitars, Coach purses, and princesses, the bakers forge cupcake-shaped pooch treats for jealous canines.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
The focus of Legends Grille & Sports Bar is its giant, fully stocked red wraparound bar. From behind this centerpiece, bartenders serve draft beers, bloody marys, and other cocktails. In addition to bellying up to the bar for libations, patrons can order pub food, such as a Bruin burger, Wachusett chili bowl, loaded nachos, or a fried-haddock sandwich, while taking in the game on one of the bar's 10 televisions. In addition, guests can take in live music acts throughout the week.
A guitarist strums the opening chords of a first song, beckoning guests to abandon their drinks and gather on the dance floor. As local musicians tear through songs, patrons show off their moves late into the night, punctuating choreography with rounds of darts and games of pool at Beemers Pub. While a variety of weekly events fuel chatter in the dining room, the kitchen remains abuzz with chefs whipping up a menu of American pub fare. Hot wings crackle in oil and burger patties with slices of provolone or horseradish cheese sizzle against a grill. When there are no live musical performances, Beemers hosts trivia nights that reward groups for extensive sports knowledge or horrible accidents that left them with encyclopedias for hands.