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.
The pizza makers at Palio's Pizza Cafe crown regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free crusts with fresh vegetables, preservative-free sauce, and roasted chicken. Chefs take the burden of putting together the best toppings with 17 specialty pizzas that pair gourmet ingredients such as artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, and fresh basil pesto. Ovens create bubbling pies, stuffed calzones, baked ziti, and italian sub sandwiches that servers carry through both chic, cozy locations. Leather-lined booths and flat-screen televisions keep diners comfortable and entertained while they enjoy Palio's BYOB policy and sip wine or Capri Sun pouches brought from home.
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.
Starting in 1982 and for years after that, the original owner of The Pantry Restaurant, Sherri Mraz, treated droves of loyal customers to hearty homestyle dishes pulled from her grandmother's favorite recipes. The food, which included classic American eats such as chicken-fried steak, patty-melt burgers, and pecan and apple pies, was so treasured that current owners Tom and Cleo Meredith continue to serve it.
When Sherri first opened it, The Pantry Restaurant was located on South Tennessee Street in historic downtown McKinney. Now, it's located in the confines of the historic Hope Hardware building, built in 1898.
The building's original brick walls and hardwood floors make the perfect backdrop for guests sipping soda-fountain milkshakes or learning old-timey cusswords such as "horse's pompadour" or "pickled peaches." The historic building also serves as a charming wedding venue, with food catered by The Pantry Restaurant.