Via Gelato & Café’s owners, Ron and Denise Dean, spent three years mastering the art of making of authentic Italian gelato with all natural ingredients, hormone-free milk, and seasonal fruits. Gaze into their artful gelato case at the vibrant colors of at least 24 flavors, all of which are made daily. Request a sample of the signature Ferrero Rocher, which is infused with morsels of hazelnut and milk chocolate. Or, relish a seasonal flavor, such as biscotti or upcoming fall flavors like cinnamon apple pie or pumpkin cheesecake. Sorbetto selections (such as champagne lemon) are blasted with fresh fruit and made with water rather than milk, making them lighter and more aerodynamic during high-speed Segway chases. Both gelato and sorbetto cost $3.50 for a small serving.
It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers??homemade ice cream churned from Fair Trade Certified, non-GMO, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry?s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry?s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Everything about Eggsperience Pancakes & Cafe is bright, warm, and sunny. Natural light floods the restaurant's eight locations, which sprinkle across Chicago and its suburbs like powdered sugar over a slice of french toast. Orange and yellow walls surround every dining room, and some locations have fireplaces, which make ideal places to sip Ghirardelli hot chocolate or espresso beverages. Even the food is colorful. Fresh fruits?either in solid or juice form?complement dishes such as the Mediterranean omelette, baked in the French style and filled with a vibrant medley of spinach, tomatoes, olives, and imported feta cheese.
Those omelettes, like what most of what comes from Eggsperience's kitchen, start with grade-AA, farm-fresh eggs. The chefs work magic with those eggs, whipping them into frittatas and poaching them for five different "Eggsquisite Benedicts." They also use them to create their signature pancake batter, but in this case, eggs are only the beginning. Strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits mix into the pancakes.
The creativity shown with those pancakes and egg dishes extends to dozens of other breakfast items, and diners could spend countless mornings at Eggsperience without boring their taste buds. The chefs don't stop at breakfast, either. They simply transition to lunch, when they grill Cajun avocado burgers and pair gourmet chicken-salad sandwiches with a soup of the day.
Glenview Grind's story is a rather inspiring narrative. Rather than merely frowning about large chain Caribou Coffee's decision to close its Glenview shop, local resident Perry Mandera decided to do something about it. With some elbow grease and support from friends, he re-opened the shop in his image as Glenview Grind. Impressively, he retained the old Caribou staff, and together they prepare coffee, pastries, smoothies, and more for the customers who had built a routine of going to the shop and for those who prefer local establishments. But even more impressively, they contribute proceeds to local charities and organizations—a textbook picture of a community sticking together.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
When Forever Yogurt claims that it has ?literally trillions of possibilities? for combining frozen-yogurt flavors and toppings, it is literally not kidding. At each location, some 16 flavors and 40 toppings challenge self-serve artists to twirl, sprinkle, and festoon cups of fro-yo to their own taste buds' content. Frozen masterpieces can accommodate preferences for low-fat, nonfat, nondairy, and no-sugar-added diets, as well as daily food-pyramid requirements for fresh blueberries, kiwi, and caramel-turtle cups.