From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.
Pastry traditionalists may question the cannoli nacho. But consider this: the triangular pastry shells can be dunked into an edible chocolate bowl of sweet-cream filling, forever circumventing the soggy fate that so often befalls cannoli shells. This deconstructed cannoli is just one of DiMare Pastry Shop’s many inventive spins on traditional Italian desserts.
Founded in 1976 by Italian-born Ugo DiMare, the pastry shop is now helmed by his two daughters, who have updated the menu with award-winning European and American creations. In addition to scratch-made pastries, the confectioners frost nearly 30 kinds of cakes, ideal for special events such as weddings, company picnics, and Take Your Cake to Work Day.
Alex Rubeo wants to take you on a journey. Crossing the threshold into Mariela's Wine Bar, rich hardwoods and a humble atmosphere aim to transport the senses to a faraway place—to France, or maybe Italy—where visitors sip glasses of wine, share intimate conversation, and snack on shareable plates. Alongside pours from the rotating selection of wines by the glass, live music and tastings add to the relaxed atmosphere of cozy tables, a well-stocked bar, and the occasional Snuggie-clad bartender.
Franklin Street Works gallery and eatery provides a welcoming environment for local artists and social gatherers inside a two-story renovated row house, originally built in the late 19th century. The not-for-profit organization fosters creativity with art pieces, musicians, and artistic films inside its cozy space, replete with warm lighting and exposed-brick walls. The space hosts social programs to encourage socialization, such as wine tastings, talks by regional artists, and debates on which Skittle flavor is the tastiest. A menu of artisanal tidbits from regional vendors features gourmet sandwiches, draft beers, and baked goods that guests can savor knowing that profits help to sustain the artistic haven
As a child, Michele Stuart worked alongside her grandmother, peeling fruit, crimping dough, and assisting in other tasks to create decadent pies. Before her grandmother passed away, Michele vowed to make her pies famous. It's safe to say she has made good on that promise. Since founding Michele's Pies in 2007, her creations have won 27 national awards, and have garnered praise from outlets including the Food Network, QVC, and the New York Times. Her pies run the gamut from sweet to savory, and her display case also shines with handmade cookies, tea breads, cheesecakes, and other baked goods.