Stepping into The Sweet Tooth Fairy shop is like walking into another era: round tables and high-backed chairs surround an old-fashioned soda fountain, and oldies music plays softly nearby. Pale-blue walls and white crown molding stand behind a glass case full of sweet treats, which are baked daily and earned proprietor Megan Faulkner Brown two appearances on The Rachael Ray Show—one when she was still baking in her basement kitchen, and the next three years later, when her business had grown to nine locations.
Megan uses the "most ordinary" ingredients to whip up her extraordinary pastries, which include chocolate-chip and iced oatmeal cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and a variety of cupcakes and full-grown cakes. Signature cakebites don coats of chocolate or white chocolate flecked with sprinkles. Flavors of baked goods rotate monthly, with some favorites available on a daily basis. Gluten-free options are available, as are frosting shots designed to save time usually spent licking every drop of frosting off the top of a full-size cake.
When perched on a cushy high-rise seat inside the retro environs of Cindy's Diner, one will likely encounter owner John Scheele as he darts about the kitchen, whipping up hearty home-style dishes lauded by reporters from News Sentinel. He sets down simmering plates of farm-fresh eggs, stacks of hot cakes, and thick sandwiches on the bright red and chrome bar, taking time to greet new faces and exchange new jokes with the regulars. When the skilled cook gets an order for his signature "garbage" breakfast, he cracks open eggs before mixing in potatoes, cheese, onions, and ham. He also creates fresh donuts using an old-fashioned machine, icing the warm morsels in strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.
John keeps his establishment a family affair with his wife Cindy, along with their three children and 20 grandchildren, who can often be spotted serving plates of all-day breakfast and refilling mugs of coffee. Rustic jukeboxes rest on the countertop, showcasing a selection of old-timey tunes, such as "Seven Spanish Angels" and "There's No Such Thing as a Cordless Telephone".
At Lorenzo's Bistro and Bakery, the bakers make their own dough from scratch for crusty breads baked on the hearth. Every day, visitors can stop in for the warm baguettes, challah, and french bread, as well as daily specials such as Sunday's cracked-wheat loaves.
But the bread is just the start of the culinary journey, which executive chef Wess Rose executes with an eye toward contemporary American dishes and Euro-American influences. Elegant steak, seafood, and pasta join surprise touches, such as the chefs' take on a louisville hot brown—smoked shaved turkey breast atop fresh challah bread topped with tomatoes, cheddar jack mornay sauce, crispy bacon, and chives. Charbroiled salmon fillets glisten with raspberry barbecue glaze, and marinated portobellos and vegetable medleys stuff puff pastries to create vegetable wellingtons, which are topped with pesto and feta.
In the restaurant's foyer, the staff mans a market where people can grab cups of coffee or pick up ready-to-eat entrees to take home. In addition to the breads, customers often drop by to pick up muffins, scones, and sandwiches for meals on the go that are tastier than oatmeal in a tube.
It was a fateful day that Campus Candy founder Mark Tarnofsky dropped his daughter off at Indiana University about four years ago. On a mission to track down a simple candy bar, the dutiful dad found himself roaming far afield until he finally landed at a distant drugstore. Convinced that college kids want candy within constant reach, Tarnofsky started his first store right there, and soon expanded to the schools in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Each outlet sells more than 500 different types of candy, all of which may be repurposed as toppings on a rotating menu of frozen yogurt. By slinging bulk candy at a fixed price, Campus Candy stores make it easy for college kids to load up on diverse desserts without filling their schedules with bonbon-making classes.
When party hosts sit down with Sweet & Savory chef Melissa Mudd, she listens carefully to what they envision, then helps them plan a menu to match the event. An office gathering might get a lineup of party trays. An elegant party might center on herb-roasted beef tenderloin with stone-ground mustard, or even a custom chocolate-zucchini wedding cake. Once the menu is decided, she and her team make everything from scratch, scorning time-saving measures such as premade icing.
Even when there's nothing in particular to celebrate, the aroma of freshly baking focaccia lures guests into Sweet & Savory’s café and bakery throughout the day. For breakfast, chefs drown buttermilk biscuits in housemade sausage gravy, and sauté bananas in brown sugar and dark rum to create bananas-foster buttermilk pancakes with vanilla crème anglaise. Later in the day, they heap slow-cooked barbecue pork on onion buns, then craft tartines with fire-roasted shrimp and corn relish, which pairs nicely with chilled soup or a salad drizzled with peach-champagne vinaigrette. Dinners can also be taken home to families or nests of baby birds, along with pies, cheesecakes, and other desserts.