Within its naturally lit brick confines, Bluestem Bistro handcrafts its menu of soups, breads, and pastries from scratch without the malevolent influence of preservatives. Local products are meshed and melded to produce sandwiches and wraps ($6.59–$6.89) such as the turkey on focaccia smeared with red-pepper aioli ($6.89), which longs to be raised to the mouth in a salute of gastronomic gratitude. Salads ($6.49–$6.99) and specialty dishes such as spinach lasagna ($6.59) pair freely with a lineup of coffees, teas, and fresh fruit smoothies (nonalcoholic drinks $1.35–$4.80).
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.
A colorful mural of Kansas State sports legends beams down on fresh sandwiches and drinks within the locally owned Mr. K's Cafe & Bar. Chefs bake signature barbecue-pulled-pork flatbreads with asiago and mozzarella cheese, and stack the fixings of Reuben paninis and bacon-cheddar Angus-beef burgers. Seven types of freshly stewed soups pair with gourmet salads and half sandwiches, which settle atop tables between orange walls or stationed on the sun-drenched outdoor patio. Flat-screen TVs flash sports action across the eatery, and live music performances offer guests an evening alternative to sitting quietly in the dark.
In 1954, Tommy and Lucille Day created their own special donut mix. They went to great lengths to insure that each donut was light in texture, carefully fried, and far more flavorful than the glazed hula-hoops then popular with America’s youth. More than half a century later, the Days‘ cozy business has expanded to include more than 900 stores scattered across the US like colorful sprinkles. You can stop in the store for a freshly made donut—described by the company’s website as “pillowy plump, satisfyingly sweet”—or pick up your order through the convenient drive-thru window.
Sip on eye-opening espressos and cool mixed coffees while the crafty chefs grill and toast the flavorful fare listed on a colorful chalkboard menu. A Ramblin' Rose wrap quiets the demands of grumbling daybreak bellies with sausage, egg, pico de gallo, ranch dressing, and cheddar put back to bed inside a cozy garlic-wrap blanket ($3.99). Sauerkraut, swiss, and thousand-island dressing smother either turkey or corned beef served on wheat to sate specific Reuben sandwich hankerings ($5.49). Pair eats with caffeinated cupfuls of mocha lattes ($3.50+) and Americanos ($1.50+), or cool off with blended iced coffees such as the banana and hazelnut or white-chocolate raspberry ($3.50+). An in-house particle accelerator smashes together watermelons, raspberries, strawberries, and yogurt, jarring loose nourishing vitamins and creating delicious juice-stop fruit smoothies. Open a book and relax in a cushioned stool as morning sunlight pours warmly through the coffee house's large windows, charging the body’s solar panels while coffee charges stomach panels.
Cold Stone's ice cream, made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.