During the past 30 years, Charlsie’s Catering and Cakes' team of gourmet confectioners have funneled their joy of baking into every dessert, crafting handmade cakes, cookie bouquets, and cupcakes with fresh, creative ingredients. Bakers can design custom creations to match any event's theme, allowing newlyweds to dish out pieces of decadent flower-laden tiers or birthday celebrators to share slices of their newfound spirit animals. Skilled confectioners also merge top-quality ingredients into dessert bars and more than 25 flavors of gourmet cupcakes.
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.
Home to a vast lineup of dairy-based frozen treats, Bruster's makes its ice creams, yogurts, and waffle cones fresh every day in-store. The menu boasts everything from traditional sundaes ($3.65–$5.94) to customizable, candy-loaded blasts ($3.65–$4.35). Guests can opt for a regular cone ($2.74–$4.95) or homemade waffle cone ($3.65–$5.40) filled with one of the multitudinous ice-cream flavors, such as Monkey Madness––with banana ice cream, buckeyes, and marshmallows––or Chocolate Lover's Trash––chocolate ice cream filled with chocolate chunks, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate butter toffee, chocolate krispies, and receipts from visits to the biannual cocoa consortium. Bruster's also offers no-sugar-added options and fat-free ice creams, as well as low-fat yogurts.
TCBY (a.k.a. The Country's Best Yogurt) serves 96% fat-free yogurt, which contains benevolent bacterial cultures that assist the body with digestion and nutrient absorption. The Pelham location's menu touts silky soft serve in flavors such as golden vanilla and white-chocolate mousse ($1.99–$4.19). Top your probiotic-packed treat with strawberries, gummy bears, coconuts, or a host of other toppings ($0.69–$0.99). TCBY's Beriyo smoothies—potent potions such as Strawberry Bananza and Berrylicious—contain real-dairy frozen yogurt blended with bushels of fresh fruit ($4.49–$5.49). Celebrate successfully evading a baby raincloud with a hand-scooped traditional sundae ($4.39–$4.59). Prices and selection vary from store to store.
Owner Tomek Wrzesien set out to create his own gallery in the renovated office space that now houses Urban Standard, but he soon drew inspiration from the café culture of his native Poland and instead met the neighborhood's need for eclectic deli fare, freshly baked goods, and boutique beverages. Breakfast offers a variety of old-world eats in addition to down-home staples such as creamy grits with sausage and cheese ($3). Share a stylish luncheon of salads, sandwiches, or grilled paninis with fancy-pants ingredients such as truffle oil, balsamic jam, and homemade pimento cheese. Carnivores can sink canines into Tomek's Polish Street Sandwich, a cavalcade of cured meats and cheese on ciabatta (half $5.50, whole $8.75), whereas vegetarians can rustle up a grilled marinated-tofu sandwich ($7.50) with a small roasted-fennel and goat-cheese salad ($4.50). If a whole meal seems too daunting, sophisticated snackers can adjust their pince-nez while sampling from a list of baked goods that would make Marie Antoinette blush.
The comfy java haven boasts painstakingly selected, high-quality coffee that is hand-roasted daily to sate the discerning palates of caffeinated, neighborhood libation enthusiasts. Ask a well-versed staff member for suggestions or peruse the percolating menu at your own leisure, alighting upon such organically laden goodies as the classically frothy cappuccino ($3) or the macchiato ($2.50), a tasty amalgamation of steamed milk and espresso. The mocha ($3.50–$4) envelops your taste buds in all its mahogany loveliness, whereas the chai ($3.50–$4), coffee's exotic half cousin, is steeped in black tea and sweet spices. Request your beverage chilled for sweltering days or when you're smuggling a diminutive ice sculpture in your mouth. Bask in drinkable irony with a 12-ounce take-home container of decaf espresso ($11.99), ideal for sipping on the front porch or imbibing during laidback concentration parties.