The fine-foodstuffs purveyors at Olivia's Food Emporium assemble fresh seasonal ingredients to craft a gourmet slate of frozen take-home comfort fare. The prepared meals—ideal for harried home cooks, pressed-for-time dinner-party planners, and Cold War nostalgists stocking underground bunkers—include house-made casseroles ($9.70–$13 / lb.) in classic flavors such as mac ‘n’ cheese and savory lasagna. Other offerings in savory casserole form include green-bean, squash, and hash-brown varietals. At-home diners can gussy up plates with cornbread dressing before adding a finishing touch of fresh-frozen vegetables ($10) in portions large enough to beta-carotenize two to five guests at once. Visitors to Olivia's Food Emporium can stroll the quaint store's bright aisles, filled with aqua-colored shelves and steam-powered grocery carts.
The chefs at El Potrillo prepare authentic Mexican dishes using quality ingredients such as USDA-certified Angus beef, crisp vegetables, and housemade sauces. House specialties brimming with sweet scallops and pork carnitas arrive on sizzling molcajetes—traditional Mexican cooking tools made of volcanic rock. Healthy dishes include spinach enchiladas topped with green tomatillo sauce and chicken fajitas, all part of the massive nine-page menu that also features classic margaritas, wine, and imported and domestic beers.
For 31 years, The Haute Pig has slow-smoked meats over hickory wood and slathered them with savory sauces for Southern barbecue platters. Hearty fixings such as home fries and baked beans join slabs of ribs and chopped beef lounging atop red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths. The tiled dining room’s walls turn green with jealousy as they watch diners sip on draft beers and specialty drinks or fork into homemade desserts including the restaurant’s specialty Hershey-bar pie. The interior space also keeps guests cozy with couches, an armchair, and a table of books that assist during mock jury trials of the big bad wolf.
Since the tender age of 8, owner Laina Woodard Smith of Madison Cupcake Company has baked and ornamented cupcakes fueled by her passion for elegant design and fresh ingredients. In addition to traditional cupcake flavors, the company boasts daily specials of avant-garde medleys such as strawberry cheesecake, banana split, and malted milk ball. The company also vends frosting shots, dollops of sweetness topped with candy crumbles or fruit, and can produce customized baked goods to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or the arrival of a brand-new box of checks.
In business for more than 50 years, Tay’s Barbeque satisfies its carnivorous clientele with a menu of savory smoked meats, house-made sauces, and an inviting sports-centric atmosphere. Patrons can dish the juiciest gossip about local karaoke divas between bites of the crispy-fried Trashy onions, served with dipping sauce ($2.99 for regular; $5.99 for large). Pulled pork and beef brisket, like the gumdrops in Candyland, are available in 1-pound portions ($9.99 each) or piled onto a sandwich ($7.50 for pulled pork; $6.99 for beef brisket). Barbecue plates come with a pair of traditional sides such as Mendy’s Best beans, Low Tide coleslaw, or Millard’s mac 'n' cheese. Layers of pulled pork, coleslaw, and sauce unite with garlic dill pickles to form the Pig Sunday ($5.99), which diners can wash down with fresh brewed iced tea while admiring Tay’s flat-screen televisions and autographed sports jerseys.
At three local donut shops, bakers frost fresh batches of long johns, cake donuts, and sundry other sweets every morning, augmenting sugary starts with savory breakfast croissants and biscuits. Pastries such as glazed donuts ($0.59), éclairs ($0.80), and bear claws ($1) take a swipe at hunger, and cinnamon rolls ($1.15) unravel into sweet, flaky layers. Customers can ponder the perplexing solidity of donut holes ($0.12 each; $1.25/dozen) while waiting for a steamy croissant sandwich packed with ham and cheese ($3.25). While prepping hot kolaches or pigs in a blanket ($1 small; $2 large), bakers tuck hot dogs into a pillowy dough blanket before telling them "I love you" one final time.