It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Tutto Gelato lavishes cups and cones with up to 20 flavors of creamy gelato and sweet sorbetto made fresh each day. Forged with natural flavors and fresh ingredients, each succulent scoop contains less fat than ice cream but more brain-freezing power than a city-council meeting at the North Pole. Nestle classic flavors such as cinnamon, peanut butter, and watermelon into a cup ($4–$6) to flaunt spoon technique, or crown a crisp sugar cone ($4.50) or waffle cone ($6.50) for a highly transportable treat. Tutto's gelato gurus routinely feature their more innovative concoctions, including honeymoon gelato, which hearkens back to decadent french toast breakfasts, and frutti di bosco, which teams strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry to form a smoothie-worthy super group. Frozen aficionados can saunter through the green door at Tutto's pale yellow, cottage-like storefront to grab take-home portions of tempting flavors by the pint or quart.
Bright lights emblazon the adjoining boardwalk of The Palace of Sweets, beckoning passersby inside for fun-filled challenges and the sugary outflow of towering candy dispensers. Devised by world-renowned maze designer Adrian Fisher, the fun center's one-of-a-kind maze envelops guests into its candy-decor depths with a disorienting array of mirrors and surprise reunions with your long-lost twin. After regaining bearings, guests can test their agility in the center's laser challenge, which sends lasers zooming through the room as they try to make their way to the other side unscathed. Known for sporting the largest selection of self-serve candy on the boardwalk, The Palace of Sweets serves as a well-stocked host for birthday parties or a press conference announcing the end of dieting.
When it comes to listening to their elders, kids could take a page out of Matthew Benigno’s book. Spearheading the second generation of Potitos’ ownership with his wife Cristina, Matthew takes care to follow the recipes of his in-laws, Carmen and Maria Potito—the original owners—as well as the work ethic he gleaned from his own mother and grandfather. "We basically stick to our roots of being Old World Italian. Everything is made from scratch at the bakery, fresh every day," he explained to a reporter from the South Philly Review, “We are keeping the tradition alive." Those traditions have paid off. Potitos won the South Philly Review's Readers’ Choice award in four categories including best zeppoli, best specialty cakes, and best cannoli, which Matthew and his team craft by filing homemade pastry shells with a choice of chocolate-chip-flecked ricotta, vanilla or chocolate italian cream, or lasagna. Other tasty, traditional specialties include an airy italian crème cake soaked in rum and covered in peanuts, and sfogliatelle—a flaky, seashell-shaped pastry filled with sweet-ricotta cheese and candied fruit.
When German baker William Entenmann came to America in the late 1800s and landed his first job in a bread bakery, he probably didn’t realize that he’d soon create one of America’s favorite brands of freshly baked goods. He opened his first Entenmann’s in Brooklyn in 1898, lugging sweets from door to door by way of a horse-drawn wagon. Today, though the mode of transportation has changed, the bakery’s donuts, crumb cakes, dessert cakes, bite-size muffins, and other baked goods continue to perform their dessert duties from supermarkets and bakery outlets across the United States.
Jilly B's Boutique & Treats uses all-natural ingredients to gussy up its fat- and gluten-free yogurt made from skim milk. The roster of flavors on the menu frequently reinvents itself, but like determined starfish, classic standbys, such as coffee, peanut butter, vanilla, and raspberry, withstand the changing tides. Dress up a dish of the low-calorie, kosher dessert ($2.95–$4.50) with 1 of more than 25 toppings ($0.50–$0.95 each), ranging from granola, candy, and almonds to fruit, sauces, and top hats. Vanquish indecision with a two-topping parfait, or silence the demands of sweet teeth with a Yowich, frozen yogurt gingerly smooshed between two cookies.