While Butterfly Kisses Baking's staff avidly serves its local customers by decorating cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, the people they most proudly cater to are military troops. The shop allocates 20% of its profits to providing care packages for servicemen and women abroad. They build those funds by enticing customers with the sweetness packed into their various treats, which include peppermint-bark cupcakes, lemon sugar cookies, and cake pops themed after the flavors of cereal, cookies, and candy bars. Bakers are on hand to help clients create custom desserts including themed cakes that might light up a child’s face on his birthday or fondant scenes so real you’d consider buying a time share there.
To find an authentic beignet, Kansas City locals have the option of making the 13-hour, 900-mile journey to New Orleans, or simply shuffling over to Beignet in the River Market. Here, chefs concoct their own interpretations of the famous French donut, infusing pastry with decadent flavors such as Bavarian cream, Butterfinger, tiramisu, and caramel praline. The tasty, fried treats also serve as a vehicle for savory ingredient combinations such as mozzarella and meatballs, or bay shrimp, roasted peppers, and Szechuan cream cheese. The menu ventures into crepe territory as well with cornbread versions loaded down with dusted catfish and crawfish tails.
Brightly painted arches greet patrons as they walk into Little Egypt Restaurant, easing the eyes into the vivid murals of pyramids and ancient-Egyptian-style figures painted onto the brick walls inside. Under the watchful gaze of the Sphinx, tables fill with a menu of Egyptian and Mediterranean fare that centers around hummus, falafel, and spiced meats. A slow-simmered lamb shank steams in a garlic and tomato sauce, and at a grill, gyros, chicken kebabs, and kitta kebabs crackle alongside veggies. Pita bread emerges freshly baked from the oven, ready to hide the treasures in floury confines like a baker’s wallet.
The Roasterie Café commits itself to supporting small, specialty-coffee-bean farmers around the world and employing a convection air-roasting method to help ensure smoothness and consistency. Customers can take bags of dry beans, such as Super Tuscan Espresso ($12.65 per 12 oz. bag), home for private brewing, or they can perk up with signature drinks that include Brooksider Bob, a mélange of mint, chocolate, and espresso ($3.85 for 12 oz.). Fruit smoothies such as Mandarin Passion ($4.15 for 16 oz.) inspire slurpers to throw regular-sized oranges in a dryer, and coolers such as Thrilla Vanilla ($4.50 for 16 oz.) calm urges for chilled caffeine. The coffee mecca rounds out its extensive menu with bagels and pastries, as well as more than 20 different flavors of loose-leaf and sachet teas.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.