More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant—today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pie designed for instant pick-up, and warm, garlicky Crazy Bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating its own charitable programs.
Founded by ice cream enthusiasts Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in 1945, Baskin-Robbins now serves tasty cold treats at more than 6,700 retail shops spread out over 50 countries. Customers glance through the glass at flavors of all color and texture, including standard bearers as well as the always-changing flavor of the month. Servers transform scoops into the classic banana split or a towering peanut-butter-cup sundae, decorated with hot fudge and Reese's peanut-butter sauce. Soft serve takes the form of cakes, parfaits, and 31 Below mix-in treats, while drinks such as strawberry-citrus Fruit Blast cools down mouths with a sweet yet icy embrace. Baskin-Robbins also offers ornate ice-cream cakes to celebrate an anniversary or successfully forging a college diploma.
The culinary construction crew at Papa Murphy’s, the highest-ranking pizza chain in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, builds a tasty menu of customizable Take 'N' Bake pizzas that patrons can heat up in the comforts of their own homes. Visitors watch as the chefs assemble thin- and stuffed-crust pizzas in-store using fresh dough, one of four sauces, shredded cheese, and up to 24 toppings. The pizza artisans then package the handmade creations for customers to bring home and cook in kitchen ovens, on backyard grills, or over an overheated car engine. Papa Murphy's collection of comestibles complements circular meals with sides of bread, salad, and chocolate-chip-cookie-dough dessert.:m]]
The culinary craftspeople at Kadie's Bakery & Deli stuff four paninis and 10 signature sandwiches with freshly sliced meats to forge a filling menu of deli fare. (Click here for page one and here for page two of the menu.) Like cars and the Lego figures that drive them, Kadie's sandwiches are customizable: chefs construct the roast beef ($7.59) to suit each patron’s tastes, stuffing tomatoes, red onions, and roast beef between slices of bread or within wheat, tomato-basil, or spinach wraps. Alternatively, a classic sandwich press locks simmering layers of pesto, turkey, and tomato into the piping-hot pesto panini ($7.69).
Pauli's serves up a gourmet dinner menu of wood-fire grilled steaks, chops, seafood, and game in a romantic setting. Fresh seafood offerings are sourced from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and include such satisfying options as blue-fin tuna, pan seared and sprinkled with a mustard-seed vinaigrette ($31.25). Soothe stressed-out stress meters with the comforting powers of Pauli's shrimp and grits in an andouille cream sauce ($18), or absent-mindedly twirl durac pork-rib chops in a horseradish-mustard sauce, nestled next to grilled asparagus and mac 'n' cheese ($34.50). The 8-ounce wood-fired prime Angus-beef sirloin appeases growling infernos ($21), and the Alaskan halibut is potato-crusted and sauteed in lemon butter sauce ($33.50), sure to bring the tongue buds alive.
Featured in the Huntsville Times, Philly Connection constructs 7-inch authentic cheesesteaks with classic italian-roll bases and extra-lean steak fillings, both imported from Philadelphia. The make-your-own cheesesteak satisfies hive-mind abstainers by stacking a choice of three cheeses—white american, provolone, or pepper jack—and an edible armada of more than 10 toppings, including sweet peppers, pepperoni, and pizza sauce, atop the tenderized, steak-filled italian rolls. Traditional taste buds may awe at the original cheesesteak, a classic congregation of grilled onions, tenderized steak, and white american cheese, while the chicken cheesesteak plumps the philly rolls with somersaulting bites of grilled poultry, onions, and cheese. Dining duos give their jaws a break from sandwich aerobics and chew on french fries while sipping ice-cold soft drinks and arguing about which famous physicist would make the best sandwich.