SkinnySweet Frozen Yogurt's owners set out to create an inviting place where people could get their sweet-tooth fix with healthy desserts. Unlike many frozen desserts, SkinnySweet's real liquid frozen yogurt contains calcium, potassium, probiotics, and live and active cultures, which promote digestive health and lower cholesterol. With the exception of one flavor, CookiesNCream, SkinnySweet's yogurt contains no high-fructose corn syrup. Complementing its healthy ingredients, the yogurt comes in 14 rotating flavors offered daily in nonfat, low-fat, tart, greek, no-sugar-added, and nondairy-sorbet varieties. Once customers have created their own frozen-yogurt base, they can finish off their creations with more than 60 toppings such as fresh strawberries, granola, brownie chunks, and caramel sauce.
Owned and operated by longtime Carol Stream entrepreneur Sindy Rogers, Manhattan's gives customers a place to relax and enjoy classic American specialties. The menu includes classics of the American kitchen such as beef stew ($10.99, $8.99 for seniors), as well as inventive takes on old standbys such as the Flaming burger—8-ounces of angus beef steak burger topped with saganaki cheese and lit on fire table-side, much to the delight of carnivorous pyromaniacs ($11.99). The restaurant itself is handsomely outfitted with wood paneling, featuring a large dining room and full bar with several flat-screen TVs hanging majestically above it like so many twinkling stars in the depths of the firmament.
Serene Teaz’s herbal outfitters dress up waiting cups in international teas, rooibos, infusions, and matés. Toast sunrise over a breakfast campfire with a mug of smoky lapsang souchong black tea ($10 for 4 oz.) or train crosshairs at midafternoon fatigue with a restorative shot of gunpowder green tea ($10.50 for 4 oz.). Steeped like tea, South African rooibos transforms into a drinkable dessert when paired with fruit or chocolate. One of Serene Teaz’s most popular rooibos brew, Sweet Sin ($10 for 4 oz.) sifts together vanilla, rose petals, and freeze-dried raspberries to elicit a decadent aroma capable of transporting drinkers toward serene moments or back to their days as a chocolate-rabbit breeder. Herbal infusions dance across nose buds with scents blended from fruits, herbs, and flowers such as hibiscus ($10 for 4 oz.) and peppermint ($9 for 4 oz.).
Juicy-O Pancake House’s kitchen serves up an inexhaustible menu of breakfast and lunch fare ranging from syrup-slathered flapjacks to savory egg specials. Named for its fruit juices, which run the gamut from classic orange to exotic pomegranate, Juicy-O also prides itself on its donuts, which are crafted from a secret house recipe and "fried before your eyes on a little donut maker,” according to ABC Chicago’s Steve Dolinsky.
Juicy-O’s locations each exude cheerful vibes, with dining rooms that are flooded with natural light and walls that are covered in framed anecdotes, such as, “Every family tree always produces nuts!” and “Time is money! Stop reading these stupid signs!”
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.