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.
Official "Breadlady" and Foodie's MarketCafé owner Cathy Cameron stacks sandwiches on just-baked Labriola bread, hushes stomach rumbles with house-made soups and salads, and cultivates a sense of community among her dining clientele. From the comfort of striped love seats and lime-green chairs, sandwich fans decode the classified messages scribbled in the spicy secret mustard sauce topping the Top Drawer Tom’s pretzel roll with roasted turkey and swiss. Sandwich fans grab hold of the florentine foccacia fusion, sporting sun-dried-tomato-speckled bread piled high with italian salami, ham, and provolone that swaddles baby spinach under a mobile of roasted-red-pepper sauce. A vegetarian-style fusion delivers the classic flavors in an herbivore-friendly package. Asian salad and chopped cobb salad provide refreshing takes on specially dressed veggies, avocado, and greens, and spoons bear-hug dollops of steak and ale or fire-roasted-veggie soup. Brownies and lemon squares pen the meal's epilogue to eager sweet teeth.
Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors, all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Harness antiviral and antibacterial effects of hand sanitizer sans burning sensation with the pomegranate punch, an infusion of pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and turbinado sweetener. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down with the less-than-400-calorie Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, turbinado, and honey. Customize any small ($5.99) or medium ($6.49) smoothie by adding one of the eleven enhancers ($0.99 each), including 8 grams of soluble fiber in the Fiber Blend or the friendly bacteria of Probiotic, which politely R.S.V.P.'s before arriving at digestive-tract dance parties.
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.
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.