When the judges; scores came in, Sugar Rush Bakery's Andrew Mincher finished in second place on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Going into the competition, he thought, "This is what I do and I thought, I’m going to have fun doing it." His positive attitude—and his recipe for banana-rum cupcakes with peanut-butter buttercream frosting—paid off.
The recognition came as a hefty endorsement for the brand-new owner of the former Di Monda Bakery. Mincher recently bought out the business with his dad and brother so that he could make cupcakes his way. Inside, customers find him doing exactly that, whipping together delicious cupcakes and other sweets such as cookies and fresh-baked breads. He decorates his creations with chunks of chocolate or cheerful frosting faces that seem to ask, "Do I look cute in this foil?"
The neon sign adorning Krish's entrance looks to be unchanged since the ice-cream parlor established itself in the area in 1955. The outdoor patio echoes this '50s feel with aqua-colored tables perched beneath matching umbrellas and nearby murals of ice cream, burgers, and fries that hint at the treasures in store. Inside, the staff concocts more than 35 housemade ice-cream flavors, ranging from chocolate chocolate chip and fluffernutter to peach and black raspberry. This delectable diversity helped earn Krisch's the title of Long Island Press's readers' pick for the Best Dessert Place from 2010 to 2012. Krisch's also transforms this creamy dessert into a variety of treats, adding dollops of it to sodas, whirling it into shakes, and topping it with housemade whipped cream for sundaes.
Krisch's dining room carries on its patio's decorative motifs, flaunting vibrant aqua shades and chrome accents typical of a mid-century diner or mermaid's classic Corvette. Once settled into four-tops or red booths, patrons order from a full menu of comfort fare such as hefty half-pound burgers, deli sandwiches, and homestyle entrees of meatloaf, roast beef, or southern fried chicken.
Even in his days on the police force, Michael Gould found himself working with dogs. As a lieutenant, he commanded his department's canine unit, and this affinity for dogs serves him well as the owner-operator of Hounds Town USA. Born from a dog-training business, Hounds Town USA is not just a place for dogs to hang out while their owners are away. Here, in the large, temperature-controlled facility, they satisfy their pack instincts with a group of like-minded pooches. They chase one another, flop down for naps together, and discuss methods for getting the cookie jar off their owner's kitchen counter. All staff members have been thoroughly trained to interact with a pack of dogs, and they supervise this pack constantly, encouraging good behavior with physical and verbal praise. Because all pups are given a temperament test before their first day, they're assigned to a playgroup that matches their playing style and preferences, even if they really just want to play House.
Teapot takes its inspiration from the Victorian tearooms of old, where tea was equal parts an excuse to nosh mouthwatering sweets and a social engagement that eventually led to common-law marriages. Get into English character with a scone with butter or preserves ($4.50) to complement a hot, steaming pot of Earl Grey or Darjeeling ($6.95). Teapot's steepable leaf selection has more than 30 varieties of white, black, oolong, rooibos, herbal, and green goodness. While a bountiful brew dances upon your tongue, nibble bites of a specialty sandwich such as the Elizabeth, a cucumber and herb-cream sandwich on a toasted baguette, or the William—white cheddar, green apple, and herb mayonnaise on a croissant ($7.95 each). Pastries and salads are also on the menu.