Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words “unusual varieties” shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners’ passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they’d adopt the theme of “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.
With a crêpe-centric menu, Kafe Neo expands on the repertoire of the typical café kitchen with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack-time fare. During each visit, diners can look on as crêpes ($2.99–$8.99 each) are cooked to order in a pan, flattened over a copy of the French Constitution, and filled with signature combinations of more than 70 different meat, vegetable, cheese, and fruit fillings. After coffee beans are carefully put through the antique roasters at nearby Dallis Bros. Coffee, they're ground up and brewed onsite to make café mochas ($4.49), lattes ($3.99), and classic cups of joe ($2.49 with refills). Whether you're eyeing something savory, sweet, or simply not caught on fire, the restaurant also serves fresh paninis, omelets, and french toast.
New Jersey Monthly’s runner up for Best Coffeehouse, The Fine Grind recharges caffeine-powered batteries with a menu of delicious drinks and treats. Customers can plug their keister into a couch and wait for the friendly cadre of coffee slingers to whip up a cappuccino ($2.95, small) or a yerba maté latte laced with cardamom, vanilla, and cloves ($3.80, medium). The Fine Grind defies the laws of physics with the customer-favorite froho, a frozen hot chocolate blendesso concoction ($4.25).
Joe, the Batchman behind BatchMakers Homemade Ice Cream, churns out rich and creamy frozen treats at his Cedar Grove–parlor. Additionally, he caters events of any size, from birthday parties to weddings and boat christenings done with chocolate sauce.
With more than 100 flavors of italian ice, ice cream, and gelato offered daily, Gelotti Ice Cream cools picky palates with a refreshing dose of variety. Saccharine, spoon-luring ice cream is available in such tongue-tempting flavors as banana Oreo, cotton candy, and sweet-potato pie ($3.35–$4.65), and italian ice can arrive under the flavor-guise of cantaloupe, pomegranate, or a tiny trench coat ($2.60–$3.70). Sate a sweet craving with a honeyed helping of canolli, espresso chip, or Nutella gelato ($2.79–$5.35), or play flavor roulette with the aid of weekly specials such as vanilla cappuccino or georgia-peach frozen yogurt ($3.35–$4.65). Gelotti also proffers sugar-free options for those who truly believe that they are what they eat and fear transforming into a rain-dissolvable sugar-human.
The chefs of Mardi Gras Fine Foods reach for pure olive oil and MSG-free recipes to create their Mediterranean-, Cajun-, and German-style deli foods. Freshly made main dishes, such as beef brisket and hot-pepper-jelly tortas, sit in a refrigerated deli case, ready to be packaged up and taken home. Meanwhile, bakers whip up brownies, scones, and muffins, and stack platters high with mini-croissant sandwiches and paninis.
Bent on accommodating guests' desires, the courteous staff also takes special orders to meet specific dietary needs. In addition, custom-designed catering menus feed parties from 5 to 500 atop white table linens or the backs of volunteer ghosts.