Bolstered by chocolate-making credentials gained by studying in Italy and San Francisco, Coco's Chocolate Cafe owner Fred Moore leads his team as they handcraft a menu of drinking chocolates and rich treats made from Valrhona and El Rey products. They give their signature turtles a twist with Madagascar vanilla beans, dip orange peels into pools of dark chocolate, and crown bourbon balls with sprinkles of chopped pecans. For romantic occasions, they also create lifelike chocolate roses ideal for presenting to a loved one or laying at the grave of a chocolate bunny. Inside the cozy café, warm lighting splashes from pendant lights onto tangerine walls and granite-topped tables as customers devour european mousse in white-chocolate cups and cool off with vanilla affogatos—chilled espresso and ice cream topped with fresh whipped cream and served in martini glasses. The shade of a red awning makes the outdoor patio's wrought-iron tables ideal for savoring homemade ice creams, such as peppermint-infused mint chocolate chip, espresso vanilla, and a vegan cashew-based variety.
The aromas of warming butter and sugar have called to mind the Heitzman legacy since 1891, when Jacob Heitzman baked and iced his first cake. It didn't take long for his airy desserts to build a fan base, one that grew each time the bakery added to the menu with new items, such as butter kuchen and strawberry whipped-cream cake.
Today, a full-scale deli joins the original baked goods at the Heitzman Traditional Bakery and Deli. On the sweet side of the shop, spice cakes burst with raisins, pecans, and fresh jam, protected from poking fingers by a caramel coating. Fresh-made pies, signature butter kuchens, and loaf cakes teem with fruits and nuts, and specialty cakes come in classic variations such as german chocolate and red velvet. The deli satisfies savory teeth with kettle-boiled bagels from Dooley's Bagels, as well as a selection of fresh soups and sandwiches. Salads bring together morsels of chicken, tuna, and fruit cut by hand, and catering trays carry turkey and ham dinners, box lunches, and casseroles to family meetings and business sing-alongs.
Since April, 2003, the chefs at North End Caf? have championed a focus on local, seasonal ingredients with a healthy approach to cooking. North End Caf?'s menu features traditional meals from around the world, ranging from grass-fed beef burgers and flatiron steaks to grilled fish and scallops to stir-fry and cakes. For sharing, chefs build eclectic small plates such as crab cakes, fried goat-cheese ravioli, and almond-crusted brie. They also prepare a range of vegan and gluten-free dishes, taking care to avoid the pyrotechnics that result when steak and tofu touch.
To accompany these meals, bartenders pour American and international wines, and blend cocktails from fruit and old-fashioned ingredients. At the Highlands location, a brand-new tap system spouts 23 craft beers, including imperial IPAs and peppery black porters. In warmer months, the aromas of cooking and laughter of clientele also fill the Highlands location's outdoor deck, an expansive wooden patio surrounded by vines and flowers.
When the Perry and Burke families joined forces to open Sweet n Swirly, they shared a vision of promoting a healthier alternative to ice cream. Neither family could have predicted, however, how quickly that vision would catch on.
Today, visitors stream into a trio of cheery, welcoming locations in Kentucky and Indiana, eagerly sidling up to self-serve stations that protrude from walls painted in vibrant pinks and purples. These stations pump out 10 creamy flavors at any given time, including no-sugar-added options and nondairy sorbets.
The ever-changing lineup of flavors runs the gamut from refreshing to decadent. On one side of the spectrum are tart, summery variations such as blueberry, ginger lemonade, and non-dairy sorbet, whereas choices inspired by more traditional desserts include peanut butter and root-beer float. A candy wall proffers toppings such as jellybeans and chocolate sunflower seeds.
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 menu at Funmi’s Café swims with the names of West African dishes, tangles of unfamiliar syllables. Kachumbari, asaro, and kelewele may sound intimidating initially, but they conceal a cuisine characterized by warmth and gentle spice. Kachumbari is an African spin on coleslaw, asaro is a goldenrod-hued yam porridge, and kelewele is a snack of fried plantains.
In the kitchen, chefs stir pots of stew and sauce, often eschewing meat and dairy to fill Funmi’s menu with vegan options. Beneath murals of circular huts on a colorful savannah, fair-trade organic coffee imported from Africa pours forth steam like a robot trying to understand the end of Of Mice and Men.