Rivers Edge Cafe aims to put a spin on the traditional, Americana-steeped diner by creating a casual neighborhood eatery that serves slightly more imaginative versions of otherwise familiar comfort foods. Tempting diners with the opportunity to enjoy three meals a day, the chefs begin each morning by cooking a number of breakfast staples. Buttermilk pancakes and country fried steak are classics, but they also cook omelets using three farm-fresh eggs and everything from artichoke hearts and kalamata olives to smoked salmon and capers. They even update the traditional side of hash browns by creating a version stuffed with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. As the sun begins to set, the cafe serves its selection of hearty, home-style dinner entrees, including housemade meatloaf flavored with garlic, onions, and green bell peppers, and penne pasta tossed with crisp vegetables, shrimp, and a balsamic glaze.
Much like its menu, Rivers Edge Cafe's dining room exudes a decidedly casual vibe that is more reminiscent of a bistro than a diner. Gleaming wooden tables and low-backed booths fill the dark floors, which still manage to catch the light streaming through the walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Tulip-shaped pendant lamps hang above a few of the tables, but, as night falls, the ceiling fans' lights help keep the space illuminated as they lazily spin above patrons' heads and keep guests cool as they sip on one of the available craft beers or wines imported from the future.
While most people would say they like chocolate with coconut, not many would say it changed their life. One exception, however, is Terri of Terri Does Desserts. As a child, she kept begging for German chocolate cake until her mother finally decided to kill two birds with one stone and teach her daughter how to bake. Little did Terri's mother—or Terri herself—know that that was the beginning of her baking career. She now makes her famous three-layer German chocolate cake alongside cookies, cobblers, and cupcakes for friends, family, and customers.
Naturally, Terri specializes in cakes and cupcakes for any occasion. She's got everything from 7-Up pound cakes to Snickers cupcakes, all with a range of coordinating icings and frostings. Her cookies also come in unique flavors, with seasonal varieties such as pumpkin as well as fruit-filled options such as blueberry white chocolate. Even her drinks have a bit of cake in them, as evidenced by frappes served in flavors such as red velvet and cookies and cream.
Every day since “Daddy Dave” Leatherby Sr. and his wife, Sally, opened the first Leatherby’s Family Creamery 30 years ago, the shop has been churning out fresh ice cream layered in sweet sauces straight from the candy kettle. Milk, cream, and sugar form the base of Leatherby’s more than 45 flavors, which range from staples such as chocolate and strawberry to more exotic varieties including mocha almond fudge and spumoni. Inspired by family recipes that date back a half-century, these frosty treats come in cones, shakes, malts, and sodas, as well as in heaping sundaes and banana splits, the largest of which tips the scales at 54 ounces. Leatherby’s menu has expanded over time, and includes savory options such as sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads.
The glimmering glass case at Donuts, Yogurt & More showcases freshly-baked pastries from chocolate donuts topped with colorful sprinkles to giant cinnamon rolls oozing with frosting. Behind it, staffers bustle about, slicing up bagels to make sandwiches, layering croissants with sliced ham, and doling out scoops of ice cream and swirls of yogurt in a variety of flavors. The shop’s specialty beverages include icy mochas, creamy caramel lattes, and refreshing mango smoothies. And for their selection of "lite" drinks, staffers make health-conscious modifications such as swapping out cream for skim milk and bacon fat for no bacon fat.
Brewing coffee at home is a crapshoot of ratios, freshness, and equipment. Instead of waking up to smell the home-brewed coffee, start leaping out of bed in a streaking sprint to the Coffee Garden to expose your nostrils and fuzzy slippers to the flowerful fragrance of roasted bean juice. Perk up in the midmorning sun amid a potted jungle of greenery on the back patio with a signature cup of coffee ($1.50 for 12 oz.) or an indulgent mocha ($3.25 for 12 oz.). When high noon hangs above, halt sweat beads in their browed beginnings with an iceberg's worth of iced tea ($2.25 for 24 oz.) or a cold café au lait $3.50 for 24 oz.).