Founder Michelle began with a Scooby-Doo-shaped pan and 3-year-old patron, a humble operation that has since grown to proffer specialty cakes, desserts, and deli fare to customers from around Evansville and Mount Vernon. Lunch patrons delight in the reuben’s distinctively punchy sauerkraut and savory corned beef, served with chips and a crisp pickle ($6.45). Snack-inclined guests indulge in giant gooey cinnamon rolls ($2) and moist, bite-sized cake balls ($8.50/dozen; prices vary by design), which curb the shame and discomfort that follow eating an entire cake. Dessert pervades the atmosphere at Michelle’s Icing on the Cake, thickening the air and triggering a precipitation of brownie sundaes that mix smooth, rich ice cream with dolloped droplets of peanut butter and drizzled chocolate ($3.50). Michelle’s original passion for fresh-baked creations remains a consistent theme that unifies her imaginative cakes ($27. 50/8 in, $38.00/10 in), well-suited to birthday parties, bridal showers, and temporary driving permit-issuance celebrations.
At Lorenzo's Bistro and Bakery, the bakers make their own dough from scratch for crusty breads baked on the hearth. Every day, visitors can stop in for the warm baguettes, challah, and french bread, as well as daily specials such as Sunday's cracked-wheat loaves.
But the bread is just the start of the culinary journey, which executive chef Wess Rose executes with an eye toward contemporary American dishes and Euro-American influences. Elegant steak, seafood, and pasta join surprise touches, such as the chefs' take on a louisville hot brown—smoked shaved turkey breast atop fresh challah bread topped with tomatoes, cheddar jack mornay sauce, crispy bacon, and chives. Charbroiled salmon fillets glisten with raspberry barbecue glaze, and marinated portobellos and vegetable medleys stuff puff pastries to create vegetable wellingtons, which are topped with pesto and feta.
In the restaurant's foyer, the staff mans a market where people can grab cups of coffee or pick up ready-to-eat entrees to take home. In addition to the breads, customers often drop by to pick up muffins, scones, and sandwiches for meals on the go that are tastier than oatmeal in a tube.
Each day at his candy shop, Mike Libs simmers sugar, cream, and butter in a vat before pouring the syrupy mix onto a steel slab and kneading it into fudge. He mastered this old-fashioned candy-making technique under the tutelage of his parents, who opened their chocolate store, Libs Chocolates, in downtown Evansville in 1950. Now at his own shop, Mike upholds his family's legacy by preparing classic treats such as peanut brittle, cream-filled chocolates, and edible busts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Similarly, his sunlit storefront nabs motifs from his parents' candy shop, with red- and white-striped display cases to match servers' bright-red aprons.
Hailed by Evansville Living readers as having 2011’s Best Chicken Salad, Maxine’s Cafe and Bakery appeases local appetites with a diverse selection of handcrafted salads, sandwiches, and sweets. Each day, pastry chef Terry Spindler dispatches armies of lemon bars, chocolate-dipped macaroons, and baklava to the upper level of his chockablock bakery case ($0.75 each), where they oversee tortes ($3.50–$3.75 per slice), whole cakes ($34–$45), and sugar-free specialties ($1.60–$3.75) awaiting purchase or skirmish. All fresh menu fare is built from the ground up, with a savory spotlight on cold salads such as Maxine’s curry chicken salad—one of three house chicken salads—which tosses white meat chicken, golden raisins, and celery in a curry mayo dressing ($7.99/lb.), and meatless eats including dill potato salad, with red bliss potatoes, celery, and sweet onion enveloped in a dill-mayo dressing ($6.99/lb.). Deli sandwiches stuffed with Boar’s Head ham and turkey also stand prepared to foxtrot their way into needy bellies ($5.85).
The ambrosial architects at Bits & Pieces Premium Ice Cream & Desserts squelch the cries of sugar-craving sweet teeth with a menu of fresh, homemade desserts. Rotating flavors of ice cream, such as oatmeal raisin, no-bake cookie, and apple crisp, stuff waffle cones in one- ($2.99) or two-scoop ($3.65) increments. Eager tongues lap up creamy milkshakes ($3.45 for 16-ounce) or malts ($3.70 for 16-ounce), and bananas cower from taste buds and mouth ghosts under the banana split's double topping of frozen dairy ($3.75). Like a batch of edible diamonds but less common, specialty sundaes, available in Rockin' Reese, Awesome Oreo, or Butterfinger Blast ($4), keep tooth caves sparkling with saccharine delights. Encouraging customer ingenuity, the innovative proprietors at Bits & Pieces welcome flavor suggestions and have fabricated an array of creative concoctions from jalapeño chocolate to green tea.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.