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.
Using free trade, organic coffee, the baristas at the drive through Hot Java Café create piping-hot and refreshingly cold iced drinks. Along with the standard mochas and cappuccinos, the drink menu also includes specialties such as the Nutty Irishman, a latte with hazelnut and Irish cream, plus peanut butter blended iced coffees. Hot chocolate, strawberry milk, and Italian sodas take care of the kids, and depending on the season, guests can also enjoy eggnog lattes, apple ciders, or multiple Santas standing in line.
Dairy Queen offers a cool respite for shoppers tired of fitting-room lines and surly sales clerks. The signature Blizzard Treat's chunky charms are as inescapable as ever, with classic candies and other flavor options blended to unmatched thickness with creamy soft serve (medium, $3.59). The waffle-bowl sundae slathers vanilla ice cream in fudge for an appealingly layered delight ($2.99), and the milkshake puts spoons to shame with its refreshing strawability (medium, $2.99). Alternatively, sizzle-starved denizens can gnash on a mushroom-swiss burger ($3.79) or the crispy-chicken sandwich ($3.89). With a variety of meal options, the Edina location's grilled delectables offer appetites savory samplings worthy of being referred to as the dessert that comes before dessert.
Big Spoon Yogurt’s special topping bar complements hot cocoa and frozen yogurt ensembles with more than 75 novel accompaniments. Beverage construction commences at Big Spoon’s topping bar, where steaming chassis of hot cocoa ($1.25–$2.59) don marshmallow tires—in mint, german chocolate, cinnamon, and toasted coconut flavors—and warm-cookie steering wheels in a rousing race to anticipating taste buds. Patrons sweeten metric-system conversions with frozen yogurt by the ounce (price varies by location), available in chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating stock of non-dairy and sugar-free flavors. Seasonal winter flavors provide the taste of frozen eggnog without the hassle of holding company Christmas parties in a polar bear’s living room, and fall flavors scour a farmer’s windowsill for apple pie and pumpkin yogurt—all customizable with the bar’s more than 75 toppings.
Opening a closet at a restaurant typically means finding a mop bucket, but opening A Dash of Panache’s vanity closet means entering a costume wonderland. Stocked with jewelry, boas, and pastel-hued sunglasses, the lilac-walled closet brims with costumes clients can don for tea in the French-deco tea room, named “Best Tea House” by the A-List—among many accolades. The eatery serves more than 50 flavors of tea to tables draped in black tablecloths and white doilies, complementing their brews with petite sandwiches, scones and pastries on crystal plates. The 1920’s-era building also houses a family café, where visitors can nosh on sandwiches, salads and soups, and ice cream, rather than the typical family meal—the contents of a minivan glovebox. Beyond the family cafe, the back of the building has been converted into a party room, ideal for themed kid’s birthday parties.
Each day at dawn, piping-hot circles made from fresh ingredients appear on the horizon, enchanting eyes and noses before popping into mouths. Unlike the sun, these rounds teem with sugar, spice, and in some cases, chocolate. Bakers craft each batch from scratch, using original recipes but not a pinch of preservatives. Their cookie roster beckons sweet teeth with everyday flavors such as M&M chocolate chip and day-of-the-week varieties such as Wednesday's almond joy and Friday's mint-chocolate fantasy fudge. Customers may also opt for custom wedding treats and personalized photo cookies, which serve as memories tastier than crepes rolled from diary pages. In addition to building cookie cakes for parties, the bakers construct cookies for celebrants to embellish with frosting.