Perkins began as a single humble Ohio pancake house in 1958. More than 50 years––and 440 national locations––later, each Perkins restaurant stays true to its roots by keeping those signature buttermilk pancakes the focal point of a 90-plus-item menu. Cooks layer the popular flapjacks in stacks of two, three, or even five and make the fluffy towers all the more tempting with toppings such as glazed strawberries, whipped cream, or flavored syrups. Breakfast favorites—including hearty omelets and country benedicts—are served all day, meaning kids and adults can order short stacks to accompany their jumbo-shrimp or steak dinner, instead of smuggling them in under a stovepipe hat. Unlike most other chain restaurants, Perkins also features in-store bakeries that churn out the shop's real fruit and cream pies, muffins, and chocolate-chip cookies.
Gen Perryman, owner of The Cupcake Orchard, has always loved to bake desserts but admits that she was inspired to open her bakery by the influx of cupcake shops across the country. She says on her website, “As I saw these cupcakeries popping up around the country, I thought, 'why not package what I love doing into a sweet cupcake?'” Every morning, Gen and her staff freshly prepare each batch using eggs and butter from local farms, seasonal fruits, and Belgian chocolate. The shop carries eight “everyday” flavors—favorites include chocolate-chocolate and red velvet—as well as three to five seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, caramel apple, and snowball.
Powder-blue trim and lush flowers clustered around a quaint clapboard storefront welcome visitors to Vincenzo's Italian Ice. The dessert parlor swaps traditional ice cream for less-fattening frozen treats, including silky gelato transported from NYC's Little Italy and italian ice sourced from Philadelphia's secret ice mines. In a simple space adorned with shelves of elegant bottles, customers can peer into the glass case to hunt down their favorite flavors of gelato, ranging from malted milk ball to espresso, or to scope out the rainbow of italian ice varieties, from black cherry to coconut.
At Butterwood Desserts, master cake artists diligently shape, bake, and decorate oven-fresh gourmet treats. Like a translation of Goethe's Faust into binary code, the ever-changing bill of fare adds a contemporary twist to European classics, enticing palates with mouthwatering cookies, brownies, and made-to-order pies and custom cakes. The bakery's glass display case houses tempting treats ranging from Belgian chocolate mousse to carrot cake. Butterwood also employs skilled cake architects to help clients celebrate any occasion, from the family car's first birthday to a talking dog's victory in the state basketball championship.
For more than 25 years, Cookie Expressions has been expressing its love for fresh baked goods by whipping up artful cookie arrangements for tons of occasions. Woo the goodwill of sweetheart bosses or bossy sweethearts on October 16 with a six long-stem cookie bouquet, featuring a half-dozen chocolate-chip cookies, dressed in their fanciest red cellophane evening wraps, and arranged with baby's breath and a fern to resemble a box of roses ($33.95). Any number of the get well soon bouquets ($32.95–$42.95) will help rally hospital-bound loved ones to quickly regain the use of their jaw, while the soda glass bouquet ($33.95) also can be used to toast to their speedy recovery.
Delish! Cooking School, whose classes were voted as some of the Best of WNY by Buffalo Spree, is known for its quality instruction and taste. Within a comfortable urban space, customers can pick up sweet selections such as fresh fudge, scones, bar cookies, and hand-dipped chocolate. Fresh-brewed espresso drinks accompanied by baked goods or housemade ice-cream sandwiches tempt tongues, while a range of cooking tools, sauces, and spices line shelves for at-home chefs to use in their own kitchens.
Experienced chefs lead cooking classes geared toward the home cook looking to hone skills without memorizing transcripts of the Food Network’s full broadcast. Students sip wine during classes such as The Exciting Foods of Thailand, Casual Italian Supper Party, or The New Vegetarian Cuisine.