Not all 13-year-olds have the foresight to realize their life's calling, or the world would be full of unemployed professional puppy holders. Luckily for the foodies of Pensacola, Dan Pettis had a knack for his more practical dream. He started experimenting in the kitchen just before he entered high school, starting as dish washer and working his way up through the cut-throat world of the restaurant industry. At the top of the food chain, he is now both chef and owner at One 20 A Modern Bistro.
Here, he crafts a menu of innovative, fusion bistro cuisine, drawing inspiration from his southern roots and journeys to Southeast Asia and Japan. The artfully plated dishes take on southern accents with dishes such as blackened garlic sautéed shrimp accompanied by creamy cheese grits and mustard-rubbed pork chops with a side of braised collard greens. Whereas, international influences take the form of range-glazed tuna steak and stir-fried edamame.
Kilwin's crafts 32 flavors of its own ice cream, 13 varieties of fudge, and a cornucopia of other sweet treats made from scratch and in store when possible. Crowns of New Orleans praline pecan and fudgie brownie ice cream regally adorn cake or sugar cones ($3.75 for single) as well as store-made waffle cones ($4.25 for single). Sixteen-pound batches of 200-degree fudge spill onto a marble table where chocolate tamers paddle the molten beasts to a creamy consistency ready for sampling or purchasing ($14.95 for 1 lb.). Decadent caramel apples employ a caramel made from scratch to glaze crisp apples made from apple seeds ($4.50 each) as popcorn overflows Kilwin's copper pots and dons a coat of cinnamon ($6.50 for 1 lb.) or peanuts and caramel ($8.50 for 1.25 lbs.).
Inside Roberto's Italian Pizzeria, 14 flat-screen TVs surround the dining room, so guests are never in danger of missing a play as they dig into pizzas fresh from the oven or pastas recently unearthed at a nearby ravioli mine. In addition to serving up crowd favorites, the kitchen crew fires up Italian specialties such as stromboli, caprese salad, and classic minestrone soup.
Staff members at Bon Appetit French Bakery and Cafe stock the glass-display cases with made-from-scratch French pastries, flaky croissants, and crusty, freshly baked breads. Inside the kitchen, chefs dust powdered sugar over napoleons layered with custard and ground up Waterloo battle plans, and they dip puffy éclairs in melted chocolate. During the workweek, they supplement their Parisian baked goods with lunch fare such as middle-eastern platters and custom sandwiches forged from deli-style meats and freshly baked breads.:m]]
Tionna Bishop met her first coffee roaster in Sausalito at the age of 13, and a passion was born. From there, she began a tour of coffee houses around the Bay Area with her father and grandfather with a dream of someday owning her own coffee shop slowly brewing inside her. Today, she’s living out that dream at Bishops Coffee and Tea, where she roasts small batches of beans every week to sell in bulk or transform into steamy lattes and frothy cappuccinos. Just beside the register, buttery croissants and muffins made in-house from scratch beckon from beneath a glass case, begging to be paired with a cup of the coffee of the day. The café’s atmosphere is just as welcoming as its comforting eats, with cozy chalkboard menus, outdoor benches, and weekend performances by a piano player well-versed in the best coffee-related showtunes.
The confectionery artisans of Sweet Memories Ice Cream & Cupcakes nurse nostalgia with ice cream, cupcakes, and other sweet treats in their quaint cottage-style shop. Daintily perch at one of the bistro tables within the brightly hued environs to enjoy an ever-changing array of gourmet cupcakes ($2.50) including chocolate-raspberry truffle, black forest, and pink lemonade varieties. Treat friends with a pack of four rotating flavors ($9.50), or placate enemies with a pack of 12 ($26). Fans of frozen treats can happily lap 24 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream from Sweet Memories' large front porch, or enjoy them from within the tastier embrace of a homemade waffle cone. Ice cream ($1.75–$3.15) can also be stirred into the frenzy of a delicious milkshake ($4.99) or soften in the lazy river of a root-beer float ($4.50).