Rocky River Coffee Company's signature drink blends ice cream and coffee for a sweet pick-me-up. In addition to this, customers stop in for a range of coffee, all made with gourmet beans roasted and packaged locally. These drinks complement a range of sandwiches and pastries, including bagels brought in straight from New York.
The chalkboard above the counter at Carm's Cafe teems with descriptions of savory paninis, tasty soups, and wraps stuffed with roasted red peppers and fresh veggies. The cafe serves locally-roasted S&D coffee to sip between bites of desserts such as homemade cheesecake.
In addition to their familial relation, Jo-Ann Morlando and her daughter Dominica Clementi share a passion for baking. Both women learned to bake as children, inspired by the old-world family recipes passed down through generations by their nonas, or grandmothers. And yet both saw baking as just a hobby—until, under the pressure of constant requests for treats from friends, they decided to open their own bakery. In 2004, Nona's Sweets was born. By 2012, it had been named a Talk of the Town for three straight years, a feat few 8-year-olds—Benjamin Button excepted—have accomplished.
Amid the intimate earth-toned interiors and old photographs that line the walls of Nona's Sweets float the aromas of cafe dishes such as grilled paninis, breakfast sandwiches, and quiche. And yet the main attractions are still Jo-Ann and Dominica's whimsical desserts: the shop displays "shelves of intricate cakes––in the shapes of teakettles and wooden ships, among others," according to the Charlotte Observer. The mother-daughter team crafts these layered desserts with more than a dozen fillings and icings. They also conjure classic Italian sweets and pastries such as tiramisu, sfogliatelle, and cannoli. Their desserts frequently make appearances outside the shop, having featured in events such as the wedding of Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and as the football in a dream of Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.
When HoneyBaked Ham was just a single shop in Michigan more than 40 years ago, it was run under the careful eye of its founder, Harry J. Hoenselaar. He handpicked every bone-in ham that he was going to sell in stores and carefully cured each in a secret marinade recipe. He then slow-smoked the ham over a custom blend of wood chips. Hoenselaar even built and patented a machine that spiral-cut the meat into almost perfectly even slices and re-creations of M.A.S.H. characters. But what really stuck with people was his glaze—a proprietary recipe that encased each ham with a sweet, crunchy finish.
Though Harry's shop has since grown into a nationally recognized brand with more than 400 stores, that attention to detail hasn’t been lost. His grandchildren now oversee the company, and they have maintained that same process of hand-selecting hams and smoking them for up to 24 hours before they’re spiral-cut and glazed. Many of the stores also have a cafe-style counter, where patrons can pick up fresh sandwiches layered with roast beef, smoked turkey breast, chicken salad, and of course, honey-glazed ham.
The cooks at Eastfield Bar & Grill cook up specialty burgers, hot dogs, and American favorites to complement their selection of bottled and draft beers. Eastfield's signature burgers stake their reputation on their locally acquired, grass-fed beef stored in a Hamburglar-proof vault. The Crooked carolina burger glistens with a layer of blueberry-chipotle barbecue sauce, and the Christmas dinner burger makes taste buds nostalgic for the holidays with its turkey patty and cranberry mayo.
Like any dutiful sports bar, the eatery boasts TVs that screen games. Those walls also feature wood trim that borders exposed-brick walls, and whimsical plaques and signs impart the authentic bar-and-grill aesthetic. Eastfield Bar & Grill also hosts live music on Thursdays, and its well-padded booths ensure you don't to bring your own upholstery kit and couch stuffing.
At Carnitas Guanajuato?a restaurant founded by a family from Mexico's Guanajuato region?chefs roast pork carnitas for up to an entire day in order to maximize the juiciness and tender texture of this signature dish. They also concoct other generational Mexican recipes from the freshest produce and cuts of meat possible. Their house specialties include succulent barbecued lamb, pork coated in savory mole, and chickens that are roasted whole in accordance with Friars Club tradition. Saut?ed shrimp arrive topped with fresh-cut jalape?os and tomatoes, and enchiladas swaddle chicken, cheese, or steak beneath a ladle-full of spicy sauce.