Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
Lounging feels perfectly natural at Arabian Clouds. The hookah bar remains open until as late as 3 a.m. throughout the week, encouraging passersby to stop in, gather around the glowing coals of one of the Khalil Mamoon hookahs, and enjoy a round of Arabian coffee or tea with the shisha. The lounge also plays eclectic mixes of pop, hip-hop, rock, and contemporary Arabian music, and guest DJs stop in to perform and energize crowds on the weekends.
More than a decade ago, a moose with azure fur wandered into a Prairie Village bar and became a regular, sipping on spirits and chatting up locals. This tall tale about the founding of Blue Moose Bar & Grill might not be exactly true, but it does evoke the laid-back vibe of the eatery's two locations, inside each of which a crazily grinning moose head overlooks the dining room. Brews babble from taps as chefs whip up pub fare with creative twists—fusion-inspired chipotle remoulade bedecks crab cakes, and sliced pickles sizzle in house-made beer batter till they reach a crispy, golden hue. The Overland Park location invites local musicians to fill the air with tunes each Friday, and the Prairie Village restaurant hosts art fairs, seasonal wine dinners, and other events throughout the year. During warmer months, both Blue Moose locations extend dining service onto spacious patios or mobile booths carried by passing bison
The staff at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt rejects the oft-touted claim that Americans don?t care about nutrition. The problem, they say, has more to do with selection than anything else; most low-calorie sweets don?t hold a candle to a fudge brownie or a warm slice of apple pie. They kept this in mind when crafting their frozen-yogurt recipes, working tireless to develop a healthy?and equally delicious?alternative to the dessert status quo by turning to decadent confections and just-picked fruits for inspiration.
Their experiments thus far have yielded more than 60 frozen yogurt flavors, which take turns pumping through the self-serve machines that line their colorful shop?s wall. Before taking a seat in a bright orange chair, guests fill their dishes with cool, low-fat swirls of chocolate cheesecake, strawberry banana, and a classic tart that bites as pleasantly as a teething kitten. Juicy pears, crunchy granola, and gooey chocolate sauce headline a smorgasbord of at least 30 toppings ready to scooped or poured into cups before their final weigh-in.