Even as the sun begins to glint on the horizon, Suzanne Maxwell is hard at work in The Lovin' Oven Bakery, the Historic Towne Square shop in which she has whipped up old-fashioned cakes and baked treats for more than 30 years. She specializes in wedding and groom's gourmet cakes, of which rum, banana nut, and italian cream are a few of the more than 15 flavors. She bakes cookies throughout the day to ensure they stay as gooey and soft as a Jell-O pillow, and she can customize cookie orders of any size, shape, and design. Suzanne also lovingly preps pastries including brownies, cream horns, and éclairs, and prepares pies in flavors such as key lime and mincemeat.
The Lovin' Oven Bakery also serves lunch, featuring chicken salad atop all-butter croissants and paired with chicken 'n' dumplings or beans and corn bread. Suzanne also crafts special-order cakes for all occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and baby-hedgehog adoptions.
The owners of Classic Cup Cafe grew up surrounded by the evocative aromas and flavors of home cooking. At their quaint eatery, a menu of comfort fare, re-created using healthy alternatives, mirrors their childhood experience. In lieu of french fries, they pair sweet-potato wedges with a burger crafted from free-range chicken out of central Texas. Each bird is void of antibiotics, hormones, and glitzy feather extensions. The café's freshly baked breads boast a lower sodium count and higher omega-3 content than traditional loaves, and some ingredients hail from small local businesses. As servers dole out the nourishing eats and fill mugs with italian cappuccino or mexican hot chocolate, diners can snuggle up with a good book or page torn out of a menu, then challenge friends to a game of Scrabble.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
In 2003, entrepreneur Donald Brown opened the first Donald Brown Chicken, a restaurant that would soon become a family enterprise. Though the signature fried-chicken recipe is a well-kept secret guarded by cooks trained in krav maga, daughter Donnice gladly gives out hints to its taste. "It's a touch spicy, but my 1-year-old nephew and 2-year-old niece love to eat it," she says. Housemade waffles and traditional sides such as greens, yams, and black-eyed peas round out meals.
Sweet potatoes, pure chocolate, pecans, whole eggs, and real butter are blended into the made-from-scratch baked goods at Uncle Willie’s Pies, lending them the authentic taste of home cooking. In the wholesale business since 1996, Uncle Willie’s Pies now serves walk-in customers at its Red Oak location, where colossal red velvet cakes topped with cream-cheese icing and glistening peach cobblers await rumbling stomachs. Deep-dish trays hoist rich servings of buttermilk, sweet-potato, and lemon chess pies as well as fruit-filled pies, including no-sugar-added options. Uncle Willie’s also fills custom orders and hosts full service catering, allowing guests to pick and choose their favorite combination of ingredients to eat or throw at any poorly behaved clowns.
At Watch Ya Fingas, owner and cooking expert Sheila Turrentine cures feverish hungers with a mountainous menu of from-scratch barbecue meats, flaky catfish, and bountiful sides. Inside the family-friendly, casual diner illuminated by broad windows, Sheila and her grill masters barbecue whole chickens, sausage and beef by the pound, and ribs, searing savory flavors into each entree before it's joined by cornbread or wedged between thick slices of regular bread. The diner’s signature fried catfish joins collard greens and a slice of peach cobbler for a meal more southern than Antarctican cuisine.