Sweet-tooth sovereign Donna Ray McDow rules over a kingdom of decadent treats handmade from the freshest of ingredients. Each week, six of 24 gourmet mini-cake varieties—including southern red velvet, rocky road, and orange delight—are showcased in the store’s grab-and-go case, and orders for specific flavors can be placed ahead of time. Keep roving bands of physicians away with the wholesome apple-a-day cupcake, or paint a dreary beige tongue pink with the strawberry special, a chiffon cake base filled and covered with strawberry icing and artfully crowned with fresh fraise. The lemon-basil cupcake’s fruit-and-herb duet is accompanied by the smooth stylings of lemon Bavarian cream and candied peel, rendering it an ideally refreshing complement to a dinner of lemon-basil chicken or a cup of German lemon milk.
With its stock of locally grown and seasonal produce, the chefs at Frankie’s Market Cafe put a fresh stamp on home-cooked comfort food. The café’s rotating menu is made daily from scratch and includes fried chicken, baked ham, and fried catfish. To balance out plates, guests can peruse a vegetable bar that includes about 12 items including candied yams, collard greens, and tomatoes and peaches from Chilton County. Slices of homemade dessert such as peanut-butter pie and red-velvet cake end meals on a sweet note.
Frankie's Market Cafe can also cater to large groups and parties, providing homemade comfort food for your next social gathering.
The dessert technicians at Top It Off Frozen Yogurt & Smoothies satisfy sweet cravings with a delicious lineup of fruit-, chocolate-, and cake-flavored treats. Nestled within brightly painted walls adorned with trees and swirls, a rainbow-colored self-serve display doles out frozen treats ($0.45/oz.) like a mechanical candy man, filling bowls with fro-yo flavors including old-fashioned peanut butter, milk chocolate, or low-fat red-velvet cake. Selected flavors allow diners to spoil dinners with minimal damage, sweetly serenading palates with no-sugar-added and non-dairy varieties. In addition to enticing taste buds with dulcet frozen treats, 20-ounce smoothies ($4.99 each) deliver fruity packages of flavor in slurpable form, and free WiFi feeds laptops delicious desserts of silly cat videos and Photoshopped toddlers.
Owners Michael and Cynthia Bertolone and their handy staff fold hearty sauces and gourmet ingredients into the menu's traditional Italian cuisine. The quattro stagioni pizza employs a chorus of ham, mushrooms, black olives, and artichoke hearts to serenade taste buds (small $13.99, x-large $22.99), and lasagna comes in its traditional layered form with bolognese sauce ($9.25), or the avant garde baked lasagna bianca, enveloping mozzarella cheese, italian sausages, turnip greens and cream sauce ($11.95). Customers craving mealtime heroics can free ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses from imprisonment in the crust of the three-cheese calzone ($9.95) and ooze them to safety on fork-to-mouth airlifts.
The first Golden Rule Bar-B-Q and Grill—a roadside joint frequented by locals and travelers alike—served its first heaping plate of lovingly smoked barbecue in 1891. The restaurant has since adapted with the times, acquiring a car-repair garage, neon signs, and a hovercar dock, in addition to nearly a dozen saucy outposts across Alabama and Mississippi. Now the various locations serve slow-cooked, hickory-smoked meats served with a variety of secret-recipe sauces and sides such as collards or mac 'n' cheese. Guests can also forgo the sauce and order surf 'n' turf dishes such as a hand-cut charbroiled steak or a creole grilled fresh catfish fillet.