Beans and Cream Gourmet Coffee and Cones is about as family-run as a place can get. The Ma and Pa in question opened the shop last year as a way to teach their kids?ages 18, 14, and 11?invaluable lessons in entrepreneurship. And what a sweet lesson it has turned out to be. The kids help with the marketing, making videos for the Facebook page where they advertise home-made salted caramel ice cream or starring in pictures with mouths blue from Superman ice cream. And if that weren't enough, the shop itself is downright adorable?think lake cabin complete with the patio you'd expect from any classic ice cream parlor. Accordingly, the shop caters to the whole family with coffee for the kids, and ice cream and snow cones for the grownups. Or maybe that's the other way around.
At Starwood Cafe, 7:00 in the morning might as well be time for dessert. The breakfast menu here doesn't shy away from sweet specialty dishes, including homemade french crepes stuffed with bananas and Nutella or pancakes with Oreo crumbles blended into the batter. But this family-owned restaurant does more than just churn out inventive sweets. The staffers also tip their collective hats to the classics. They serve biscuits with sausage gravy, farm-fresh eggs with grits, and skillets full of hash browns and toppings.
Once the day segues into lunchtime, the cafe composes sandwiches and wraps alongside gourmet salads. Grilled teriyaki-salmon stir-fry speaks to the kitchen's versatility, while tuna melts and deep-fried Atari games show the cooks' passion for nostalgia. And some entrees, such as the chicken-fried steak, are just as delicious in the afternoon as they are at sunrise. Regardless of what you order, almost everything that makes its way from the kitchen to the dining table abides by Starwood's strict philosophy, which prizes freshness and made-from-scratch quality above all else.
Jon and Carmen Pei spent years traveling the globe, visiting caf?s from New York to Taiwan in search of the perfect rendition of their treasured childhood treat: bubble tea. After organizing all their recipes, tips, and ideas, the couple opened their own shop, where they whip up their own blend of innovative bubble teas, smoothies, and frozen hot chocolate.
Upon entering their colorful, brightly lit shop, guests are often greeted by Jon and Carmen themselves, who dole out free samples to first-timers, greet return customers by name, and tussle the toupees of visiting congressmen. The duo and their staff of baristas fold premium tea leaves and freshly cooked tapioca boba balls imported from Taiwan into fruity drinks. They also chop up fresh fruit for smoothies every day at the shop. Customers are invited to order from a menu of specialty drinks or choose from a variety of flavors, fruits, and mix-ins to design their own concoction. They can even add from a selection of more than 25 kinds of popping boba balls, which burst in the mouth with every sip. And during chilly winter months, the baristas pour hot bubble tea.
Guests sip on beverages and nibble on snacks?such as crunchy Pocky sticks?out among the tabletops of the lively seating area. Some play video games on wide-screen computers and televisions, whereas others engage in more traditional games such Connect Four or competitions to fit the most straws up their nostrils.
Every day at more than 770 locations, Jamba Juice proves that good nutrition can be both convenient and delicious. Since the beginning, the company has based its philosophy on choosing whole fruits and all-natural ingredients over artificial flavorings and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, and it makes additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Although Jamba Juice is serious about using wholesome ingredients, the company is a little more playful when it comes to the palate. Whole fruits and veggies can be blended into an extensive menu of great-tasting smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. But Jamba Juice?s commitment to keeping healthy eating simple informs its solid-food options, too. Customers can kick-start their morning with a steaming bowl of slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal, or stay energized throughout the day with six varieties of Energy Bowls: nutrient-rich blends of whole fruit, Greek yogurt or soymilk, and an assortment of dry toppings and fresh fruits.
In addition to nourishing and energizing the human body, Jamba Juice fights childhood obesity by sponsoring Team Up for a Healthy America. The initiative encourages fans to join the Team Up community of celebrities, athletes and other leaders committed to getting kids active?which they can do by visiting the main Jamba Juice website.
Coconut. Passion fruit. Mango. The flavors of the tropics conjure images of sun-kissed beaches, lapping waves, and the airfare required to get there. That is, unless you visit a Bahama Buck's. At more than 30 locations throughout the Southwest, customers find relief from heat and hum-drum desserts with frosty treats including smoothies and sodas. Most of them come for the shop's signature treat?the shaved ice. After piling cups high with snow-like ice, employees drizzle the whole thing with one of dozens of flavors, which range from cherry and grape to birthday cake and bubblegum.
Bahama Buck's dedication to island living doesn't end with the treats. Each shop embraces the same relaxing tropical atmosphere: palm trees stand proudly next to tiki torches, bamboo trim lines the walls, and a smoke monster floats through the parking lot every day at noon.