Founded by ice cream enthusiasts Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in 1945, Baskin-Robbins now serves tasty cold treats at more than 6,700 retail shops spread out over 50 countries. Customers glance through the glass at flavors of all color and texture, including standard bearers as well as the always-changing flavor of the month. Servers transform scoops into the classic banana split or a towering peanut-butter-cup sundae, decorated with hot fudge and Reese's peanut-butter sauce. Soft serve takes the form of cakes, parfaits, and 31 Below mix-in treats, while drinks such as strawberry-citrus Fruit Blast cools down mouths with a sweet yet icy embrace. Baskin-Robbins also offers ornate ice-cream cakes to celebrate an anniversary or successfully forging a college diploma.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Voted Best Barbecue in the Tennessee Valley by CityVoter, LawLers Barbecue Express 5 dishes up sweet-and-tangy delights at boot-scootin' speeds while the affable staff doles out a hearty side of laughter. LawLers’ signature hickory-smoked-pork plate rewards patient taste buds with its precisely cooked meat, plus a slice of bread and choice of two enticing sides, including barbecue beans and corn on the cob ($6.77). Carnivores needing a nourishing meal before they chop wood with their bare forehead can wolf down the half-slab rib plate ($10.97), which heeds the accompaniment of a Stuffie potato that brims with butter, sour cream, cheese, and a tasty choice of pork, beef, ham, or, turkey ($6.47 for one meat).
Chef Margaret Hale, a graduate of Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, packs a grocery cart full of experience as she teaches wannabe Wolfgangs and baby Batalis the tricks for radiating kitchen brilliance like the melody of a freshly tuned didgeridoo. The Chef Next Door makes cooking approachable by coming to your home with a class customized to accommodate personal preferences and any dietary restrictions. Using her ingredients and your cookware, Chef Hale will execute a one- to two-hour interactive workshop for you and up to three others. Jump in on the action like a stage diver at a knitting convention, learning the full potential of your own kitchen equipment and appliances, then bask in the warm, appetizing afterglow of your hard work.
A stash of more than 65 teas from around the world complements Emma's elegant atmosphere and flavorful menu, which features sandwiches, soups, salads, and a variety of delectable desserts. Pair the chicken-salad sandwich with a side of fresh fruit ($8.75), or indulge your inner herbivore with the fruit salad—a citrusy mixture of mixed greens, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwis, and pecans, drizzled and dressed with an orange poppy-seed dressing ($8.95). For steeped drink savants interested in the quintessential afternoon teatime experience, the cozy teahouse features four tea party options ($12.50–$22.50 per person), available from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Gather any available friends or hire some unoccupied acquaintances and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of sipping and socializing over a medley of tea-completing noshables, including finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones, and a flowing chocolate fountain—all accompanied by a pot of the teahouse's leafy brew.
Yogurt Twists opens its frozen-yogurt vault and well-stocked toppings bar to visitors, who swirl and decorate their own custom healthy treats. A bank of eight machines churn 16 flavors of the sweet semi-solid, whose creamy peaks of white chocolate mousse or York Peppermint Patty contain active cultures that the National Yogurt Association asserts will boost the immune system and brain-freeze resistance. Drizzle a deep cup of rocky road with liquid marshmallow and chopped pecans, or bombard it with a hail of nuts, fresh-cut fruit, and candy-bar crumbles ($0.45/oz.). Sorbet flavors such as watermelon and key lime pie invite sampling from dairy-free diners and lactose-intolerant DJs. In addition to determining their portions, patrons may whittle down their treat's calorie profile with low-fat or nonfat yogurt and perk up palates with two rich, no-sugar-added flavors. Painted in sherbet orange and pastel aqua, the airy shop boasts shiny tables and bright-orange chairs for up to 40 sets of sweet teeth.