On any given day, Sarah Halterman can be found making handbags, corsets, baseball jerseys, or guitars—out of cake. Once an elementary schoolteacher, she founded Sweet Art Bakery in 2007 as an outlet for her love of custom baking. Today, she leads a team of five design assistants who help her turn 10 cake flavors such as dark chocolate, red velvet, strawberry, and spice into works of art suited to her customers' specifications and interests. She breathes life into her treats with 10 types of filling and icing, which include raspberry preserves, peanut-butter mousse, and chocolate buttercream. When not crafting custom cakes or their miniature cupcake cousins, Sarah fashions butter-citrus sugar cookies into the shapes of hats, owls, and snowmen, rolls cake balls and profiteroles, and dips strawberries in chocolate. She also leads monthly cake-decorating classes which, though geared toward beginners, also teach experienced bakers how to execute advanced kitchen moves or protect cakes from impatient guests by disguising them as scary predators.
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.
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.
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.