For more than 50 years, the staff at Arnie's Dog House has steamed classic Vienna beef hot dogs, Polishes, Italian beef, and other sandwiches and their focus on what's on top of the bun is just as important as what's inside of it. Toppings crown any meal choice, and include ladles full of chili cheese or the Chicago-style treatment for a hot dog, with sport peppers, dill pickle spears, and tomatoes on top. Arnie's toppings are so popular, they even come as a standard part of many menu items: cheese fries get more interesting with a sprinkling of bacon, and tamales come with gooey chili. Side items including fried pickles, cheese sticks, and funnel-cake fries help round out the menu. The team cooks up these favorites in addition to other items such as loose hamburgers, corn dogs, Italian sausages, and pizza puffs for meals to be eaten in house or delivered to your door still sizzling, cooking meals quicker than even the competitors of the Lunch Lady World Championship Games.
The bakery hit the ground running in 2012 with a rave review from ABC7's Steve Dolinsky and praise from the Post-Tribune. Dessert Menu features custom cakes with specialty buttercream frosting made from actual butter, rather than hydrogenated oils. One of their specialties is waffles. These delicacies are made with caramelized sugar with buttery-sweet ingredients beneath. Following the tradition of Liège waffles from East Belgium, the mixture is pressed into Belgian waffle irons to create thick and chewy waffles with chunks of caramelized sugar pearls throughout. Prepared fresh upon ordering, they can be topped with fresh fruit, Nutella, homemade whipped cream, or caramel. They also dole out scoops of gelato, a slowly churned, dense ice cream that contains more milk than cream. Beyond the cakes, waffles, and gelato, Dessert Menu prepares fresh batches of pastries, tarts, and other treats.
When Debbi Fields opened the first Mrs. Fields in 1977, it wasn’t all sunshine and cookies. Between her lack of business experience and the unorthodox business model—selling only cookies—not many people believed in her. More than 30 years and a global franchise later, it’s safe to say the doubters are eating their words, at least when they're not busy stuffing their faces with one of Debbi's signature semisweet chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and walnut cookies.
The wild popularity of Mrs. Fields's cookies can be attributed to the richness of their basic ingredients: real butter, whole eggs, and special blends of chocolate. Classic flavors include chewy fudge, peanut butter, and white chocolate macadamia, and seasonal flavors complement the lineup throughout the year. Select varieties can also be made into cookie cakes of various sizes and shapes that add a delicious twist to any celebration or milk-truck spill.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
The Wetzel name wasn’t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, “Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!” on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel’s Pretzels. After years in Nestle’s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick’s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel’s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalapeños.
Filling their kitchens with the freshest ingredients, the bakers of Branya's Bakery craft made-from-scratch treats, for casual consumption or custom order. The cake reigns supreme in this confectionary, adding its moist texture to cupcakes and specialty cakes that can be decorated with sculpted fondant or powdered sugar buttresses. These desserts can be topped with a variety of frostings and injected with fillings including fresh fruit, buttercream, or custard, allowing every bite to blend a trio of complementary flavors.
In addition to traditional baked goods, the bakery offers a line of made without gluten goodies crafted from rice flour rather than wheat flour. The line includes bread, muffins, doughnuts, cakes, and chocolate chip and butter cookies as well as soup, jelly, and jam.
Expanding beyond party-ready sweets, the pastry chefs also create hearty breakfast offerings with their in-store selection of biscuits and gravy, danishes, almond-filled bear claws, and muffins, with toppings of streusel or a light layer of frosting adding a touch of sweetness. During the lunchtime hours, a range of flavorful, homemade soups fill the shop with their aromatic scents, allowing guests to mix savory and sweet like the food pyramid during its rebellious teen years.