At the cozy eatery of Cravings Bakery & Cafe, founder Barbie Baumler satisfies jonesings for sweet pick-me-ups and hearty meals alike. Cupcakes ranging from rose-hued strawberry champagne to sumptuous devil?s chocolate share the glass-fronted display case with chocolate truffles and pie. Alternatively, complete breakfasts, lunches, and dinners incorporate the greatest hits of American diners, filling rumbling stomachs with waffles, fried catfish, and pizzas with unconventional toppings, such as the bacon cheeseburger pie. For nuptials and other events?including football Sundays?Cravings? inventive caterers can craft custom spreads, from artfully frosted wedding cakes to cookies that stand in for cymbals during rock concerts.
On nearly every wall at The 5th Down Bar & Grill hangs at least one flat screen TV, beaming in all manner of sports to give revelers their fill of up-to-the-minute scores, triumphs, and defeats. As they hunker down to decimate orders of hand-breaded appetizers or big plates of wings, diners can lock horns over games of Keno or enjoy their pub favorites on the outdoor patio.
Once, upon adding the finishing whiskers to her custom wedding cake, Cherie stared in horror at what she had done. The cake looked exactly like an armadillo: beady eyes, bulbous armor, spindly claws. Concerned with its semblance to the rodent, Cherie insisted that her client come by and assess the cake before making her final decision to present it as her wedding centerpiece. The bride-to-be let out a squeal of joy. “I love it! It’s exactly what I wanted.” Cherie let out a sigh of relief.
Cherie, who has been decorating cakes for 30 years, admits that there’s no accounting for taste. Despite her personal opinions on armadillos, she was heartened by her client’s elation, which is ultimately why she began baking in first place. “It’s so much fun watching kids eat their first birthday cake that you’ve worked on for hours, or to get thank-you notes from brides who say your cake tastes just as good a year later, at their one-year anniversary.”
To ensure that smiles and thank-you notes continue to pour in, Cherie collaborates with clients to design the ideal treat for their celebrations. She reviews photos with them during in-person consultations, and even requests napkins and invitations in order to design a cake to complement each event’s aesthetic. After assembling her cakes, she swathes their fluffy exteriors with her sherry cream frosting, which adds an oaky and sweet finish.
A 15-foot projection television screen covers one wall at Sidelines Sports Bar, ensuring a good view from any seat in the house. This television, along with a smattering of flat-screens scattered around the bar, flickers with sports events, such as Mizzou football games, Cardinals baseball games, and mascot stampedes. Patrons gather around tables indoors or on the outdoor patio as they dig into plates of Cajun wings, barbecue ribs, or pizza. During breaks in the game, they compete at games of pool or in the Tuesday and Wednesday night Texas Hold’em tournaments.
Natasha's Euro Market’s globetrotting gourmands deliver the tastes of Eastern Europe with a large selection of Old World–style meats, imported chocolates and candies, and European wines and beer. The grill-ready Bobak jumbo sardelki ($4.99/lb.) and Bende hot gyulai ($6.79/lb.) bring spicy flavor to outdoor cookouts or indoor bonfires, and sizzling flavor receptors are re-cooled with a swig of Borsec mineral water ($1.99 for 1.5 L). The flavorful, meltable podlaski ($6.99/lb.) and nutty swiss madrigal cheese ($9.99/lb.) help dress up humdrum sandwiches, and sweet Ukrainian round bread ($3.99) and European cakes team up inside stomachs as a spongy buffer against an invading armada of beers from Romania, Latvia, and Macedonia.
Mister Bulky doles out the largest selection of Jelly Belly jellybeans in the Midwest as the headliner to a gargantuan cast of confectionery classics. Rock-candy sticks ($.90) and Pop Rocks ($1.25) turn mouths into scrumptious excavation sites for mining bicuspids and spelunking molars. Classic offerings of candy corn ($6.99/lb.) and salt-water taffy ($6.99/lb.) evoke feelings of childhood bliss, and one-pound Jawbreakers prompt mouthwatering studies in diameter and circumference ($7.50/piece). Chocolate Ice Cubes ($11.99/lb.) melt in your mouth before a flapper-garb-wearing Charleston Chew dances across your taste buds ($1.25). Both Mister Bulky locations don candy-themed wall décor and end-to-end bins of sweets that, similar to child-run gambling rings, strike a playful balance between organization and childlike bliss.