Ben and Jerry’s shops offer a variety of frozen concoctions, from milkshakes to brownie or cookie sundaes. The frozen creamery is also a proficient cakery with a proud stock of ice-cream cakes. The website even boasts a virtual cake-builder that helps walk cake-couturists through the steps of designing their own delicious desserts, such as choosing the shape, size, flavors, toppings, and whether they’d prefer it to say “Happy Birthday," “Congratulations," or “Congratulations on the Anniversary of Your Birth." Cakes, like all of Ben and Jerry’s delicious ice-cream flavors, are made with fair-trade ingredients whenever possible, upholding their mission statement and commitment to activism.
Since 1990, The Cookie Zoo has warmed hearts and stuffed bellies with made-from-scratch sweets and homemade gift baskets. Teach a chum how to chew with the doughy contents of a cookie basket ($50–$100), or carry around a combo tray ($40–$55) of chocolate-chip and sugar cookies and blimp-like brownies to make new friends on the street while toning your carrying muscles.
Grape leaves, chickpeas, and pine nuts flavor Garden Cafe’s classic dishes, honoring the rich array of ingredients yielded by the fertile soil and salty waters of the Mediterranean. The eatery’s marinated fava beans and hummus pave the way for main acts, such as sizzling beef and chicken kebabs or chicken shawarma. The cooks also combine fresh ingredients for a handful of sandwiches, loading bread with falafels, beef gyros, and even philly steaks, which justify their presence by telling everyone they studied abroad in Greece.
Chef Michael Siwiec of A Thyme for All Seasons doles out a menu of traditional American dishes peppered with a contemporary flair to midday meal munchers. Diners can warm up jaw squares with the turkey and white-bean chili smothered in smoked mozzarella ($4.95). Nine sandwich selections include the classic Cuban ($8.50), the slow-roasted pulled pork doused in homemade barbecue sauce ($7.95), and the New York steak sandwich crowned in fried onions ($8.95). The gooey homemade macaroni 'n' cheese quells nostalgia and dairy cravings ($7.95), and the Polish plate piled high with pierogies, kielbasa, and potato pancakes allows patrons to sample the spoils of Eastern Europe without the security pat down and the hefty botanical-psychotherapy bill resulting from house plants' abandonment issues ($8.95). The cafe unhinges its elegant doors to ladies and gents who lunch Monday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.