When former fast-food execs Ed Rensi and Tom Dentice decided to open their own casual restaurant, they knew they'd have to do some research. In the years since they'd started in the business, the burgeoning foodie culture had transformed this beefy staple into a gourmet food. Honoring the dish's roots in American roadside diners, the duo decided to take a road trip, visiting about 100 restaurants across the country to study what made a gourmet burger.
What they found was a lot of hype and inconsistent execution, starting with inadequate equipment. For instance, the average commercial griddle has hot spots and cold spots that can be 30 degrees different. "You can't get a consistent cook … if you got that much range in temperature on the grill," Ed said. He also saw inconsistencies with ingredient quality: toppings can't save a burger, no matter how good, if a restaurant uses beef from spent dairy cattle. Likewise, good beef loses impact when dressed in drab toppings such as iceberg lettuce.
Once Ed realized what the gourmet burger needed—consistent process and quality across every ingredient—he and Tom went to work. They found an AccuTemp grill that uses steam pressure to uniformly heat the surface. They sourced Midwestern-raised Angus beef ground from chuck with the shoulder clod still intact. And they filled the 20-item condiment station—dubbed the "Tower of Taste"—with all-natural fixings such as three types of organic Heinz ketchup and mustards from Mustard Girl, a company started by a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.
With a surefire process in place, Tom and Ed began extending their menu to other sandwich fillings, such as fresh chicken breasts, sushi-grade ahi tuna, and edamame burger patties. Sides also benefit from the duo's attention to detail. Hand-dipped ice cream and fresh strawberries swirl into strawberry shakes, which are served with extrawide straws that make it easier to sip when the drink is at its coldest. And at the drink station, fountains pour Boylan sodas sweetened with cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup.
When placed on racks in front of the store's exposed brick walls, the clothing selection at Anew seems eclectic. Stylish dresses and lace-trimmed cloche hats mingle freely with in-season designer clothes and Coach purses, forming a curated selection that allows clients to build their own, one-of-a-kind wardrobe. All of the items in the store are selected for their quality, style, and seasonality, ensuring clients don't have to sort through racks of stained or passé clothing to find something they'd like to see in their closet. The shop specializes in boutique and designer clothing, collecting jeans from brands such as 7 For All Mankind and Miss Me and purses from Coach and Louis Vuitton. Alongside these designer goods hang accessories made by local artisans, including CooperSong, who makes bags that reuse inner tubes, recycled baseballs, and old material to create unique items. Through both their consignment clothing and recycled wares, the staff hopes to promote an environmentally friendly culture of keeping items out of the landfill and in the closets of loving new owners.
For more than two decades, American Mattress has promoted peaceful slumber in bedchambers throughout the Midwest with their vast selection of mattresses, headboards, and linens. The sleep experts strive to stay abreast of the latest bedding technology: their Serta mattresses are made with gel foam that supports curves, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses repel allergens, mites, and poltergeists looking to spoon. This devotion to a good night’s sleep has helped them earn the title of Best Mattress Store from suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald five years in a row. Additionally, American Mattress doubles down on each of its beds with a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 60-day best-price guarantee.
Yogen Fr?z has an interesting answer for yogurt shops that simply top their swirls with fruit?they mix whole mangos, bananas, watermelon, and kiwis right in with the yogurt. These colorful, fresh creations boast low or no fat as well as a heaping helping of digestion-friendly probiotics and gluten-free goodness. Each flavor is crafted sans artificial flavorings, colors, gelatins, high-fructose corn syrups, or preservatives?all while maintaining gluten-free, kosher-certified status. Of course, customers of the shop?which has more than 1,300 locations in more than 35 countries?can still opt for a traditionally topped cup of yogurt or a fr?zion smoothie. The body bettering doesn?t stop there, as certain topping combinations from its signature fr?zion bar can even support cell membranes and veins, provide antacid and anti-inflammatory relief, or help prevent body aging, especially if bathed in.
The quaint shops and eateries of Geneva’s downtown district lie just beyond the wall-to-wall windows of Anytime Fitness’s 24-hour facility, creating a scenic backdrop to individual workout regimens and group classes. After tussling with free weights or accelerating heartbeats on Precor cardio machines equipped with their own built-in TVs, members can pop into a group class, such as cycling, boot camp, or cardio kickboxing, led by seasoned staffers with backgrounds in fitness and nutrition. They can also take advantage of one-on-one advice and motivation with personal-training sessions. When not in the presence of trainers, patrons can still access meal plans, track their workouts, and share success stories with friends in the online Anytime Health platform or in members-only tree forts. Patrons working to rehabilitate injuries can also take advantage of onsite massage and chiropractic treatments.
Studio 3 Productions documents and enhances weddings with an arsenal of services that includes photography, videography, DJing, and lighting. A team of photographers and videographers carefully documents each wedding-day tradition, from the exchange of rings to the firing of the flower girl out of a cannon, producing keepsakes that range from simple scrapbooks to high-tech films replete with montages and other special effects. Meanwhile, the company’s LED lighting can add pizzazz to receptions, with curious customers able to view a small-scale simulation in advance at the studio.
Alternatively, portrait sessions at Studio 3’s studio or on location capture authentic flashes of subjects’ personalities as they pose solo, with loved ones, or with pets. After shoots, the studio’s framing services accent prints, equipping subjects with a high-quality wall decoration to replace their collection of unpaid parking tickets.