Fans of Orland Park Bakery know that if they want a chance at tasting one of their favorite pastries, breads, or pies, they'll need a calendar. Cream horns fill display cases on Tuesdays, St. Joseph's pastries make an appearance every Wednesday, and fruit pies are only available on Saturdays and Sundays. But the savvy bakers don't limit production out of stinginess: it takes time to bake each pastry, pie, and loaf of bread fresh every day, which is exactly how they've been doing things for the past 30 years. And so, on any given day, customers might find loaves of butter crust white bread, Swedish limpa rye, and maple apple nut loaf occupying the vary spaces where Irish soda bread, cherry nut cylinders, and loaves of seven grain sat just the day before. They'll also find rich Danish dough transformed into sweet coffee cakes with fillings that could include cheese, almond, or plum, depending on the season, as well as cupcakes topped with creamy peanut butter buttercream, strawberry whipped cream, or even cookie dough. The bakery's selection of mini-pastries––which includes éclairs, brownies, and blueberry tarts–-is available every day, as are cream pies to the great delight of the town's mischievous clown population. Of course, if customers are looking for something special, they can always call ahead and place a custom order, which the bakery accepts for everything from its daily breads to the sweet, filled paczkis it bakes throughout lent. Behind the scenes, professional cake decorators work on custom orders for everything from birthdays to graduations, and the team is particularly proud of the elegant designs they've produced for weddings, which have included rich, sugar-scroll work or towering tiers of pearl-covered fondant.
Classic diner breakfasts and lunches are the main order of business at Café Miele. But unlike the greasy spoons of yore, this spot boasts a modern menu that keeps dietary restrictions in mind. Buttermilk, multigrain, Belgian, or gluten-free flapjacks soak up streams of sweet syrups, while Kaiser rolls or gluten-free buns embrace burgers. Egg options include omelets and scramblers, as well as healthier items made with just the egg whites.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
Danny’s Cafe warmly serves what co-owner Carl Dote described as “Italian peasant food” on Danny’s Check, Please! feature. Their cooking aims to comfort, from generously stuffed artichokes to their signature fried-meatball sub. The hefty sandwich, highlighted on WGN, comes to fruition after staff members hand-form fresh meatball mix into patties and pile on fried peppers. Co-owner and chef Paula Dote told ABC’s “Hungry Hound” that when she and her husband bought the restaurant, she wanted to make exactly what she made at home, and indeed, she uses recipes from her mother and mother-in-law in all of her cooking and homemade volcano experiments. She ladles vodka sauce and crumbled sausage over homemade rigatoni, and layers provolone, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta in the four-cheese lasagna. Pork neck bones, one of Danny's more unique dishes, are served twice a week and praised by Hungry Hound for the tender meatiness resulting from hours spent simmering in spiced tomatoes. The eatery has also spawned relatives—appropriately named “Cuzzin’s Cafe”—that serve similar dishes in Des Plaines and Orland Park.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.