Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
TJ's slow-smokes meats, pairing them with sides composed of fresh ingredients that have never known the molecule-slowing touch of the freezer. The rib sandwich ($6.79) reclines on two slabs of freshly baked bread, and show-stealing open-faced platters of brisket ($8.95), smoked wings ($7.59), or pork ($7.59) scream at two house-made sides, including coleslaw, baked beans, and corn on the cob for looking them in the eyes.
After six and a half years working as a restaurant pastry chef, Bianca Priest had an itch for change. That itch led her to open her own bakery, where she specializes in everything from old-fashioned towering cakes to new and innovative sweets. Her butter cake batter, which boasts a satisfyingly dense texture similar to pound cake, provides the base for most desserts and helps stabilize any wobbly tables in the bakery. Bianca also crafts cupcakes, pies, cookies, and bars from scratch, as well as custom cakes and elegant nuptial desserts. Those with dietary restrictions can rejoice in the bakery staff’s ability to accommodate special diets, with lower-sugar-content and vegan options available.
Tuesday through Saturday, Annalyce's Bake Shop lays out six varieties of cupcakes chosen from a repertoire of nearly two dozen flavor combinations, which range from classic red velvet to exotic Nutella. Freshly baked, these spongy, handheld cakes hide under piped crowns of airy buttercream and flourishes of sprinkles, mini Oreos, or marshmallows. Annalyce's keen bakers also sculpt breathtaking special-occasion cakes using pliable fondant icing, which can be shaped to resemble Lego bricks, red roses, or the town comptroller.