It's likely that when walking into a Big Apple Bagels, people won't just see baskets overflowing with fresh bagels, but they'll be able to smell fresh dough baking in the air. That's because bagels are both made and sold at each location, giving customers the chance to order up warm, chewy bagels in gourmet flavors such as blueberry cobbler and quiche lorraine. The cream cheeses are similarly diverse in flavor, as people can smear their bagels with onion chive, cheddar jalapeno, or whipped brown-sugar cinnamon. The menu also features New York-style deli sandwiches served on bagels and freshly tossed salads.
BAB serves products from their two sister brands, Brewster's Coffee and My Favorite Muffin, the latter of which uses soybean oil to keep their muffins moist yet low in cholesterol. Many locations also serve Freshëns smoothies, whose ripe-fruit blends are rich with healthy vitamins because unhealthy vitamins don't exist.
Joined by her husband and close friends, founder Denise Mehl sought to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment. The result is Jungle Java, where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's café carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out ready-made treats, such as ice-cream cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
Before they scoop ice cream into a waffle cone, whip it into a smooth chocolate shake, or pack it in pints, quarts, or half-gallons to carry home, the dessert masters at Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream Parlor have to craft the ice cream from a 14% butter fat ice cream mix. This mix is what gives the old-fashioned ice cream its smooth and creamy texture—an ideal canvas to cover with whole nuts, real fruit chunks, and fudge caramel, much like any canvas hanging in a museum. The scoop-wielders dole out 44 flavors in all, including exotic recipes such as Majestic Milky Way and maple-walnut alongside the old standbys of chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan.
Keeping the culture of independent coffee shops alive, the friendly baristas at the Italian-style Ani’s Caffe brew up energizing lattes, mochas, and coffee amid deep crimson walls and cozy leather sofas. As steaming mugs of hot tea steep at the old-fashioned counter, staff scoop out cones and cups of dozens of decadent, local Ray’s Ice Cream flavors to complement freshly made espresso drinks. Additionally, every Friday and Saturday evening, the café invites local musicians to serenade its guests, who can always catch up with imaginary friends online using the shop’s free WiFi.