Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings—in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. The duo is also famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
It was 1978. Two hippies?a college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant that were lifelong friends?pooled together their combined life savings and a few loans from friends and family to renovate an abandoned gas station. Their plan was to leave their college failings behind them and start a business together doing something they both loved?food! They learned to make ice cream through a $5 correspondence course at Penn State (costs split between them). They created rich flavors with lots of big chunks and thick swirls. Their unusual flavor concoctions and names pioneered a new category of ice cream, known today as Super Premium. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, Scoop Shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries?and pints in groceries around the world. Their brand easily attracted customers?homemade ice cream churned from wholesome ingredients, blended into creative flavors.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and globally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry's uses high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with steroids or the synthetic hormone rBGH. They source Fair Trade ingredients from non-GMO sources. Ben & Jerry?s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry?s plants generates energy to power farms. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits across the nation. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Palio’s Pizza Café may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant’s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover’s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant’s commitment to quality doesn’t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in 13 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day lava-powered ovens warm up batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, pecan praline, and white-chocolate raspberry remain constants on the menu, and a new flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all frosted with a signature blend of cream cheese and butter.
Each Nothing Bundt Cakes location also houses its own stock of gifts. Patrons may come across the brightly hued handle of a confetti cake knife or opt to take home an old-fashioned tin, perfect for stowing coffee and imprisoning gingerbread men who have tried to run away. Contact the location of your choice for gift pricing and availability.
I Love Popcorn’s kernel herders pop up warm, fluffy servings of signature corn and douse them with more than 30 gourmet flavors for snacking, special occasions, or gifting. Bags of crunchy goodness ($3 for extra small; $4 for small; $5 for medium; $6 for large) come in flavors such as caramel and cheese, hot jalapeño, and cherry, each prepared fresh throughout the day to ensure maximum freshness. M&M Drizzle on caramel combines crunchy candies, thick chocolate drizzle, and decadent caramel corn into a gooey quagmire of deliciousness, whereas piña colada corn provides a sweet afternoon snack or a reminder of years spent busking in Margaritaville.
Coffee Squared's Cuvee-trained baristas steam and beautify specialty drinks with skill as they multitask to craft pastries and sandwiches. Rich coffee ($1.75–$2.25) widens the drooping eyelids of patrons as steam billows up from piping-hot cups of organic Mighty Leaf tea ($2.05–$2.45) plucked from sustainable farms. Iced white mochas ($3.95–$4.25) send energizing chills down spines as masterfully brewed espresso and sweet cocoa tango down throat chutes. Guests can feel free to sink into sumptuous leather club chairs to work remotely or look up their elvish pseudonym on Coffee Squared's free WiFi network while gobbling up sandwiches and pastries ($1.75–$5) from a rotating menu. The list of hunger quenchers showcases such treats as cranberry blondies and kolacky—fruit poised in buttery dough rounds. Red brick peeks out from behind strategically destroyed drywall in the cozy cafe, creating an artistic canvas on which contemporary paintings hang and at which guests can look while daydreaming or free associating about masonry, freemasonry, the Founding Fathers, and mothers that have a tendency to get lost.