Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
Comfort food doesn't have a reputation for being healthy, but the cooks at Fresh Market Cafe strive to change that by putting a nutritious twist on southern favorites. The kitchen staffers prepare their vegetables in chicken stock or a ham base, eschewing grease, oil, or butter for healthier alternatives. Baked fresh every morning, their pies, skillet cornbread, and entrees contain no MSG or artificial flavors, instead relying on fresh and natural ingredients. Customers pressed for time can take advantage of the carry-out and drive-thru options, or they can enjoy a leisurely meal in the restaurant.
Candy Bouquet crafts boxes bursting with colorful arrangements of exclusive chocolate and hard candies to give as gifts for any occasion, from overcoming an illness to celebrating an anniversary. A red-rose bouquet swaps traditional roses for chocolate flowers, and the Happy Birthday bouquet delights the eye. Candy Bouquet's themed treats are designed specifically for each customer and packed into colorful designer containers made from recycled materials. The company's commitment to green business practices is reflected in other ways, too, such as its work with a rainforest preservation group to save land in Brazil.
Inside the brightly-lit confines of Fat Cat Art Cafe, shelves brim with bare-bisque pieces in the form of plates, mugs, and bowls. Visitors wield non-toxic, lead-free glazes and paints, embellishing items with designs such as flowers, abstract squiggles, or a squirrel's handprint before accommodating staff members fire the pieces, readying them for everyday use. Not just a paint-your-own pottery studio, Fat Cat Art Cafe offers specialty sessions such as Clay Day, where participants learn to make their own pottery pieces, and summer camps, where campers delve into daylong or weeklong projects such as creating a mosaic plaque, building flower pots out of clay coils, and making clay jars to store one?s nosehairs.
The sounds of metal against metal reverberate through the interior of Hokkaido Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar, as showy hibachi chefs delight their audiences with knives, spatulas, and safely airborne morsels of food. The chef stands in the center of an audience and orchestrates a fiery feast upon the hibachi grill. Steak, salmon, and scallops all transform under the chefs’ flashy techniques; each has a different repertoire of tricks, but they almost always perform the “volcano” maneuver that displays controlled spouts of flame. The atmosphere is a bit quieter behind the sushi bar, as a chef with 18 years of experience carefully rolls and slices fish that’s brought in daily and shushes anyone with enough gall to cut their food with a jackhammer. Earth-toned stone walls surround Hokkaido’s interior, which generates an upscale vibe with sleek dark chairs and booths. Large front windows admit streams of sunlight during the day, and hanging lamps exude a golden light over booths at night. To accompany flame-kissed or rice-wrapped food, bartenders pour specialty drinks at the bar, such as the Funky Monkey with banana liquor and piña colada mix, or teetotal with bubbly Japanese Sprite.