Aromas of roasting pine nuts, pesto sauces, and baking lasagna fill the air as chefs at Ferrari’s Little Italy and Bakery craft traditional Italian fare according to the owners' family recipes. They sprinkle the signature insalata Ferrari with cranberries, pine nuts, and gorgonzola cheese and top the pollo basilico's roasted chicken with rigatoni, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto cream sauce. Additionally, a pair of bakers slides around 150 loaves of fresh focaccia bread into their ovens each day, yielding slices topped with three colors of bell peppers, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese. These appear in glass bakery cases alongside pastries and artisan gelato from local dessert makers Madisono’s Gelato and Sorbet.
Inside Ferrari's multiple dining areas, gas fireplaces flicker among exposed-brick walls, and family photos help create a homey feel. On the outdoor patio, fragrant wisteria vines climb a wooden pergola, and a picturesque fountain quietly babbles recommendations from the wine list.
Teri Scheff, a skilled ceramics sculptor and the founder of Artrageous Desserts, augments celebrations with customizable cupcakes and cakes, in traditional stacks or eye-catching original designs. Armed with a spatula and steady hand, the playful artist crafts cakes for weddings or other special occasions in the likeness of family pets, a new car, or a conventional birthday cake's long-lost twin. The bakery's mature-cake division boasts racy designs in anatomically inspired shapes and adult-themed inscriptions.
For two decades, Haute Chocolate’s dual kitchens have worked in tandem to melt down premium chocolate for more than 300 confections. The enterprise began when owner and chocolatier Lisa Cooper Holmes won a local baking contest for her fudge and semi-sweet chocolate brownies. The award not only saved her from the loser’s shameful bath in molten fudge; it inspired her to pursue a life in the dessert industry. Nowadays, Lisa’s brownies remain the shop’s centerpiece but share their display cases with Haute "Pi", peanut-butter-and-chocolate buckeyes, and chocolate-dipped treats.
Wake up with dishes from Giminetti's breakfast menu. Fork through a fluffy stack of syrup-drenched pancakes ($3.50 for stack of three) or opt for a cheesy omelette ($4) with melted sharp cheddar. Brownies ($2), white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies ($0.75), and monstrous Danishes ($1.50) tempt sweet teeth. For midday meals, try the vedgewich ($5.50), an array of tempting veggies (grilled onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers) and savory provolone plopped between slices of multigrain rustica and slathered with a liberal dose of horseradish mayo. Subs, hoagies, burgers, and paninis appease meatier palates.
With graduations, weddings, and whale-wrestling season fast approaching, a customized party cake serves as a tasty treat for groups of gathered revelers. A 10-inch party cake from Maribelle serves about 30 people, and the cakery's abundant bounty of flavors and fillings will please even the most picky cake connoisseur. Plump a lemon almond cake with red raspberry filling, or infuse a rich German chocolate cake with fresh sliced strawberries or Frangelico cream. Any combination of bakery beautifying extras—be they fresh-cut or frosting flowers, chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate curls and shavings, or curly ribbons—are included in the price, so pile on the ornamentation to construct a memorable masterpiece.
Taz’s menu of authentic Mediterranean cuisine serves up classic Middle Eastern eats in the heart of the Midwest. Start off with an order of creamy hummus, served with a warm pita ($4.95), or take a pita swimming in a sea of flavorful baba ghanoush, a smoky dip made from roasted eggplant ($4.95). After training taste buds with an appetizer, unleash them on a tender chicken kebab sandwich, served with a veggie-stuffed pita ($5.25), or the herbivore-friendly falafel sandwich ($4.25). Classic Mediterranean gyros lure diners with a siren's song of cucumber sauce, diced tomato, and herbs (7” $4.95, 8” $5.50). A wide variety of teas, such as yansoon, green, and sage ($1.50), as well as fresh juices made with guavas and mangoes ($2.50), wash down the sunny Levantine flavors and cleanse palates of freeloading genies.