More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant—today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pie designed for instant pick-up, and warm, garlicky Crazy Bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating its own charitable programs.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Founded nearly 25 years ago by homemade-ice-cream aficionado Bruce Reed, Bruster's Real Ice Cream has blossomed into a business with locations across America and the Caribbean, with friendly staff scooping up freshly made ice cream at each parlor. Guests pick from more than 140 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt, with a rotating selection of 24 cold, creamy desserts?such as chocolate cherry chunk, thin mint, and black raspberry. Diners savor their frozen desserts in waffle-cone, sundae, and shake form, or ring in birthdays with custom-made ice-cream cakes and oreo pies.
California Yogurt Kraze, under new ownership, invites guests to step up to its line of self-serve yogurt stations and pour out a tasty, low-fat dessert loaded with calcium, healthy active cultures, and rich, creamy flavor. Most of their yogurt is fat-free, with no cholesterol or preservatives, and includes four healthy yogurt cultures, as well as being safe for most diabetics and people who are lactose intolerant. With 24 yogurt flavors, and over 80 toppings, patrons scoop up spoonfuls of flavors such as cheesecake, espresso, birthday cake, cookies and cream, california tart, and Valencia orange sorbet, crowned with toppings such as pineapple, Twizzlers, brownies, or chocolate syrup.