From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
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.
Since 1981, TCBY has been synonymous with frozen yogurt. The company spearheaded the guiltless consumption of low-fat, chilled dairy treats with iconic flavors such as white chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit and candy. Today, TCBY yogurt shops across the country continue the tradition with classic and specialty flavors such as caramel supreme, greek honey vanilla, and sugar- and fat-free mountain blackberry. Patrons can also enjoy real fruit sorbets, sugarless options, and more than 35 toppings and choose from soft-serve and hand-dipped flavors.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$6.95 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with flour freshly milled on-site every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include asiago cheese & sun-dried tomato, cranberry orange, savory potato and pizza rolls, and parmesan pesto. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes sweet-tooth sating confections such as scones, muffins, cookies, and bars in flavors such as raspberry swirl and ginger.
David Stark, owner of the Bake Shoppe, picked up the art of baking at age 14, learning tricks of the trade at his uncle's bakery, Barbara's Bake Shop, in the mid-'60s. He now takes those lessons, proudly baking his goodies "the old-fashioned way," making red-velvet and creme de menth cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and moist banana bread from scratch, the way his uncle made them. The star of this bakestravaganza, however, is the champagne cake, which skyrocketed his uncle's bakery into becoming the largest retail bakery in Des Moines. He expertly transforms the family-secret recipe into eye-dazzling custom cakes, which are more like works of art than human sustenance, decked in fondant ribbons and flowers fit for the Queen of England's Afternoon of Scheduled Merriment.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded donut recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he couldn't keep the secret to himself. He opened up shop in 1937 to share the yeast-raised delectables with the world, thus marking the birth of Krispy Kreme.
Today, step into any Krispy Kreme shop and you can see the donuts progress on their journey from formless dough to circular confection. The entire process plays out through plate glass windows: the raw dough is shaped into disks, the disks rise in a heated oven, the plumped donuts then drop into the fryer where a conveyor belt speeds them along their journey. After cooling on the belt, the original donuts pass through a ribbon of glaze. Like a donut-shaped bat signal, a neon sign lights up the sky to announce the emergence of fresh, hot Krispy Kremes.
From the colorful checkered walls to the menu of hearty comfort food, the owners at Cozy Cafe strive to create a nostalgia-tinged dining experience. The vast menu is marked by the restaurant's specialty?Helen and Pat's cavatelli?as well as homemade entrees, including blue-plate specials of meatloaf, hot roast beef, or chicken and noodles, all served with homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. Staff serve up Friedrichs coffee drinks, and for breakfast, chefs flip the traditional array of omelets and pancakes and offer homemade cinnamon rolls as well as homemade biscuits and gravy.