Riley Greider is the mind, hands, and sweet teeth behind Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, a gourmet bakery specializing in cupcakes. More than 128 flavors rotate across the shop’s menu in groups of 13 to 20 each day, baked daily in small batches from fresh ingredients.
With such an enormous repertoire of recipes, the cupcake case has room for classics such as carrot cake alongside fancier flavors such as cinnamon french toast and cherry crème brûlée—not to mention the decidedly outlandish, such as loaded baked potato and Game Day Chili. While retaining a home-baked look, many of the cakelets wear elaborate toppers of sprinkles, frosting swirls, or fruit. All this creativity won the shop the title of Best Cupcakes in City Newspaper’s 2011 Readers’ Choice poll.
Since 1917, the Andy's Candies factory has been pumping out chocolate concoctions such as nut clusters, chocolate-dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels, and specialty sponge candy. Stock your sugar shelf for the holidays with seasonal items such as chocolate-covered candy canes and Santa suckers, which feature a cocoa-covered St. Nick perched atop his traditional reindeer-powered lollipop stick. The chocolatiers at Andy's Candies have built their reputation on unwavering quality and taste, along with an old-fashioned approach to customer service; they do their best to fulfill special requests for candy not available in-store. Andy's treats have also infiltrated the corporate world with customizable candy business cards, chocolatized company names and logos, and caramelized paper clips.
The bean blazers at Boulder Coffee Company flame-roast their coffee before brewing signature coffees and espressos. Sink into a comfy couch or float lazily on the aromatic wafts of fresh coffee while sipping on the caramel macchiato, a vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce, or a spiced chai. An artful atmosphere beckons the caffeinated critic with walls lined with paintings and negative space for seeing what's going on outside. Boulder Coffee Company’s open-mic night allows anyone to sign up to deliver comedy or perform espresso spit takes; check the calendar for an idea of upcoming acts.
Perkins began as a single humble Ohio pancake house in 1958. More than 50 years––and 440 national locations––later, each Perkins restaurant stays true to its roots by keeping those signature buttermilk pancakes the focal point of a 90-plus-item menu. Cooks layer the popular flapjacks in stacks of two, three, or even five and make the fluffy towers all the more tempting with toppings such as glazed strawberries, whipped cream, or flavored syrups. Breakfast favorites—including hearty omelets and country benedicts—are served all day, meaning kids and adults can order short stacks to accompany their jumbo-shrimp or steak dinner, instead of smuggling them in under a stovepipe hat. Unlike most other chain restaurants, Perkins also features in-store bakeries that churn out the shop's real fruit and cream pies, muffins, and chocolate-chip cookies.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.
The tantalizing aromas of both hot, toasty sandwiches and sundry cupcakes, pies, cookies, and pastries fill the halls of the historic springhouse that Katherine's on Monroe Bakery & Cafe calls home. Katherine’s satisfies pre-dessert quotas with a full café menu that ranges from egg-laden breakfast sandwiches and quiches to sandwiches stuffed with both classic staples, such as that of the BLT or the Reuben, and more exotic flavors, such as the swiss-cheese-, pickle-, and mustard-studded pork and ham of the cuban panini. Once diners have finished off every bite of their sandwich, leaf in their salad, or sip of their soup, they can peruse a bakery case teeming with creative cupcakes, cream-filled pastries, dessert bars, and other decadent treats.