In 1927, young James Stoughton left a life of tending fields and animals to erect a small roadside sandwich stand. As its popularity grew over the decades, he gave in to his artistic proclivities and built a professional theater. Room by room, the stand and the playhouse grew into a sprawling estate, and Green Gables Restaurant was born.
Today, owner and descendant Mary Louise Stoughton grins at a sea of diners and wedding-reception guests as they chat in the restaurant's hand-hewn wooden halls. The revelers excuse themselves from tables momentarily to wander the building, which is home to a bevy of hidden whimsies. Observant explorers discover statues of inquisitive human forms, carved in the nineteen-twenties by French sculptor Crenier, that silently heft monolithic urns which bear the weight of the ceiling above. Beside wrought-iron chairs and tables, glass windows bloom with verdant plants, and antique shelves bear rows of antique Pennsylvania glass, china, and pottery. The Tuscany Room's skylights spill natural light over hand-carved wooden beams harvested from local barns and a dance floor inlaid with fleurs-de-lis, all bordered by four towering oak trees.
Executive Chef Susan Kroft fills each room with spice-laden aromas from duck, beef, and shellfish. Stoughton, who is also a sommelier with training from the French Wine Academy, fills clinking glasses with more than 100 grape elixirs during normal meal hours, at monthly wine tastings or at occasional wine-and-dining events that save pupils the trouble of breaking open a satyr's piggy bank. A network of paths and terraces leads to the adjoining Huddleson Court country inn, as well as to the doors of Mountain Playhouse, the property's original theater.
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 1,500 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the Pepperoni Pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs or slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including Frozen Lemonade Mixers.
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. They also reach out to local communities through fundraising opportunities.
Inside Honey Baked Ham, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
To go with the meats, the kitchen whips up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato souffl?. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.