In an attempt to combat his food allergies and hypoglycemia, Steve Kuhnau began to concoct drinks in his home blender in the late '60s, tossing in various combinations of fruit, supplements, and proteins. Quickly discovering that the right fusions drastically improved his health, he worked to refine his revolutionary nutritional smoothie, and he opened a health-food store in 1973. He and his staff started slinging vitamins alongside the blended drinks, and the word quickly spread about the healthful beverages—Smoothie King was born. Since its noble birth, Kuhnau's smoothie empire grew to more than 600 franchised locations around the world, and there are more than 600 locations on this planet, too. Today, each location serves a long list of drinks to trim down, shape up, stay healthy, and occasionally indulge. Each of these verb-named mixes is made fresh to order.
Roasted and brewed in-house, Republic Coffee’s global-savvy coffee drinks roll out a steamy rug for sandwiches stacked with smoked meats and soups made from scratch daily. Leafy greens and veggies burst from salads drizzled with just the right amount of dressing, and crostini dive into creamy baths of garlic hummus. The cozy coffeehouse’s doors open as the sun rises to greet diners with fluffy eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and malted belgian waffles. Sleek black chairs and leather booths scattered throughout the interior keep night owls comfy until closing time at midnight, when the overcaffeinated crowd works off excess steam by bouncing against exposed-brick walls.
At City East Bagel and Grille, cooks craft New-York-style bagels from scratch right in the restaurant kitchen. The doughy rings come in 16 flavors, ranging from banana nut to sun-dried tomato, and visitors can choose from eight toppings—including butter, jelly, and four flavored cream cheeses. In the dining room—decorated with black-and-white photos of old Memphis—they can also tuck into hearty breakfast and lunch dishes, from a piping-hot pastrami sandwich to breakfast skillets brimming with eggs, grilled potatoes, and peppers.
YoLo—a truncated combination of the words yogurt and local —lives up to its abbreviated namesake by using toppings from local farmers and bakers on its self-serve frozen yogurt. Customers DIY their yogurt treat, choosing the type of yogurt, the toppings, and ultimately the cost of the treat, as YoLo charges $0.45 per ounce, which includes the weight of the cup, frozen yogurt, toppings, and ghosts of frozen yogurts past. The thick and creamy frozen yogurt is made from real dairy yogurt from Honey Hill Farms in Russellville, Arkansas, with all flavors kosher, gluten-free, and either low-fat or non-fat. Non-dairy mango sorbet is also available for vegans. With the bed of yogurt assembled, customers can hit the toppings bar to sprinkle culinary confetti atop their creation. YoLo offers tasty toppings from area vendors such as Makeda's and Dinstuhl's. Toppings—like fashion trends, TV schedules, and the color of the leaves on foliage monsters—change with the season.
Maggie Moo’s preps its premium super-soft ice cream daily. Each location churns its own batches, eliminating the risk of freezer burn and motion sickness in the delicately structured compound. The Dream Cake for Two starts with a molten base of rich chocolate cake, with a heaping cylinder of strawberry ice cream perched upon it. Chocolate ganache covers the peak and runs down the sides like the springs of a magic chocolate mountain. A dipped strawberry perches at the summit, the lonely monarch of a fleeting empire. Spoon a couple of soft globs of champagne sorbet into a glass slipper to join the dessert foray. The quart will likely outlast your feast, leaving you extras for the next day.
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 21 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day ovens warm up cake batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, red velvet, and white-chocolate raspberry are favorite staples, and a new seasonal 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 crowned with signature cream cheese frosting.