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 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and 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&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
The founders of Orange Leaf started their business with the goal of finding a middle ground between rich scoops of ice cream and bland yogurt. Mission accomplished: they have created more than 65 tasty flavors, including pumpkin pie, gingerbread, blueberry banana, white chocolate, and Dole pineapple, that are both nutritious and tasty. After customers self-pump their selected flavors—which rotate regularly—they add toppings such as cereal, candy, nuts, and fruit. With finishing touches in place, a staff member weighs creations to price them or to determine their class in the shop’s underground yogurt-fighting ring.
The dairy aficionados at Rusty's Frozen Custard create icy, slowly churned goodies crafted so thick that customers are even encouraged to turn their treats upside down to fully appreciate their density. Luscious custards coat tongues in classic flavors of vanilla or strawberry, and when dunked into fountain drinks, create bubbly floats. Sundaes and shakes, meanwhile, can be outfitted with more than 35 toppings, including Oreo pieces, Nerds, or M&M's. Rusty’s crew also excels at making specialty drinks, such as lattes and low-fat smoothies, which can be enjoyed while relaxing on outdoor seating.
Unlike jerk-chicken pudding or fried-tuna Twinkies, ice cream makes for a delectable dessert that properly caps off any meal. At Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery, patrons can sample a huge menu of ice cream and other treats that are sure to slap a smile on any face and massage taste buds with sugary strokes. Try ice cream in flavor combinations such as Strawberry Skateboard with sprinkles, gummy bears, and marshmallows, or Cotton Candy Ski Jump with M&Ms and mini-marshmallows. Ice-cream cupcakes ($12.95 per 6-pack) can be enjoyed with a spoon or spoon-fingers. Dream cakes ($19.95+), on the other hand, come in appropriately oneiric flavors such as Maggie's Mud and Chocolate Heaven, and are available in 6-inch, 8-inch, and sheet-cake sizes. Creamy milkshakes ($4.97) topped with Oreo cookies, peanut butter and marshmallows, or chocolate syrup and espresso, will perplex party attendees before blasting away reservations with deliciousness.
Every day at more than 770 locations, Jamba Juice proves that good nutrition can be both convenient and delicious. Since the beginning, the company has based its philosophy on choosing whole fruits and all-natural ingredients over artificial flavorings and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, and it makes additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Although Jamba Juice is serious about using wholesome ingredients, the company is a little more playful when it comes to the palate. Whole fruits and veggies can be blended into an extensive menu of great-tasting smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. But Jamba Juice?s commitment to keeping healthy eating simple informs its solid-food options, too. Customers can kick-start their morning with a steaming bowl of slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal, or stay energized throughout the day with six varieties of Energy Bowls: nutrient-rich blends of whole fruit, Greek yogurt or soy milk, and an assortment of dry toppings and fresh fruits.
In addition to nourishing and energizing the human body, Jamba Juice fights childhood obesity by sponsoring Team Up for a Healthy America. The initiative encourages fans to join the Team Up community of celebrities, athletes and other leaders committed to getting kids active?which they can do by visiting the main Jamba Juice website.