Alotta Brownies is a true-blue neighborhood bakery where glass cases reveal sweet morsels of handmade decadence. The inviting confectionery is owned by New York native Michelle, whose former stomping grounds had her baking cakes for the sweet-toothed likes of Madonna, Mary Tyler Moore, and Yoko Ono. She and her lovingly prepared sweets migrated to the Midwest, where a 100-year-old sugar-cookie recipe mingles with more than 20 varieties of brownies and bars and a full menu of edible rewards. If you don't see your consummate confection, opt to customize a cake. Choose the filling, layer-count, frosting, and decoration, such as an eight-inch, three-layered creation smothered in cream-cheese frosting for $29.
When the Bluejays take the court, you can expect to see a sea of bright blue shirts at the Sam & Louie's at the corner of 24th and Cuming in Omaha. The location has been one of Creighton University's homes away from home since it opened in 1994, but its welcoming atmosphere is found at each of the eatery's 24 locations. There, friends and families bond over great conversation and an eclectic mix of casual cuisine from a menu inspired by traditional New York–style pizzerias. Eighteen specialty pizzas are hand tossed into thin-crust pies before being decorated with more than 35 toppings such as creamy alfredo sauce, sliced Italian meatballs, and canadian bacon. In deference to those with special dietary needs, almost all of these specialty pizzas are available in gluten-free pizzas.
In addition to pizzas, cooks also craft their daily-made dough into calzones and strombolis, which ooze with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. The menu culminates in five third-pound Black Angus burgers, Italian hoagies, and eight types of pastas. In addition to hosting guests inside their welcoming pizzerias for both lunch and dinner, the cooks at Sam and Louie's also take their food on the road, offering catering services for events both large and not-so-large.
The aroma of fresh-baked bread and muffins draws diners into the cozy Rumor Mill Cafe and Coffee for breakfast and lunch. Deli sandwiches, paninis, and wraps form the backbone of the menu, crafted with slow roasted meats and seasonal produce. Diners can eat alfresco or snuggle up on microsuede armchairs to catch up on work with free WiFi and a cup of coffee. The café's 42-inch flat-screen television communicates the latest news, sports scores, and values of Beanie Babies.
The Donut Professor uses locally sourced ingredients to create fresh donuts, pastries, and muffins every morning. With 37 varieties of donuts ($0.99 each; $9.29 per dozen) ranging from garden-variety glazed to elusive vanilla peanut, The Donut Professor offers a full catalog of fried, doughy treats. Éclairs, fritters, and cinnamon rolls ($1.19) satisfy partisans of pastries without holes. All locations open at 6 a.m., mere minutes after fresh donuts come into being, giving night-based vigilantes and day-faring caped heroes a place to eat while comparing notes. If the full amount of the Groupon is not used in one visit, The Donut Professor will issue a gift card with the remaining balance.
Named for the terroir in which its grapes flourish, Glacial Till Vineyard's rocky mineral-rich soil is home to nine varieties of French-American red and white grapes that grow ripe on the vine across gently sloping hills. Those grapes are crushed, pressed, and eventually transformed into handcrafted wines, including a smooth and dry Chambourcin; the semisweet and fruity Edelweiss; and the bright, springy Frontenac Rose. At the beautiful off-site tasting room, visitors can take a seat at a café table or along the bar to enjoy sips of all of Glacial Till's wines, which can also be ordered by the glass or bottle.