When Palermo’s Bakery opened nearly three decades ago, it was a small storefront affair. Husband and wife team, Joanne and Jerry Bruno, baked small-scale confections at first, but over the years, Jerry became adventurous, constructing elaborate designer cakes that grew more intricate over the years. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to those same creations, the small Italian bakery has grown into two custom cake shops with more than 50 staff members.
Still helmed by the Bruno family, Palermo's Bakery creates lavish wedding cakes bursting with fondant flowers, and specialty cakes sculpted into an array of improbable shapes, such as 3D champagne bottles. Though baked goods and pastries vary by location, they often include more than 20 flavors of cookies, Italian treats such as cannoli, and kosher desserts such as rugalech. All of the duo’s whimsical creations are available for pick-up or delivery.
Carvel has been churning up a creamy conglomeration of ice-cream bars, cakes, sandwiches, and other soft-serve treats made fresh daily with flavorful, kosher ingredients, for more than 75 years. Exercise your licker with small conefuls of soft-serve delight ($3.99), cool your palate after copious rounds of hot-wing ingestion with a large shake ($4.99), or opt for an ice-cream cake ($18.99–$39.99), which can be enhanced with an edible image of your choice (adds $5–$7). Click here to read some common FAQs about Carvel's creations, nutritional information, and how many angels can fit on a scoop of ice cream.
Tast Eatery serves up healthy meals made from organic and locally sourced natural ingredients. The menu boasts a mouth-watering spread of burgers from grass-fed cattle ($5.95–$11.95), garden fresh salads ($5.95–$9.95), and sandwiches made with free-range chickens, organic veggies, and more. Organic egg sandwiches ($3.25–$4.25) pair a variety of meats and cheeses with the eponymous ovals grilled in olive oil and served on a bagel, roll, multi-grain bread, or whole-wheat wrap. The homemade veggie burger ($8.95) arrives at tables preassembled with sliced avocado, tomato, a nest of organic greens, and hummus spread, saving guests the trouble of raising their own menagerie of minerals, vitamins, and chronic-disease fighters. Thirsty patrons can sip chilly beverages, such as a banana-nutmeg moo smoothie concocted with hormone- and antibiotic-free milk or organic soy milk ($4.85–$5.95).
Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words “unusual varieties” shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners’ passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they’d adopt the theme of “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.
At Bing?s Burgers, cooks focus their grilling talents into crafting flavors not found at a typical drive-thru joint. While diners at the newly opened Fort Lee location can indulge in four types of slider and Bing's own beer-battered fish and chips, the menu centers around a lineup of burgers topped with combinations of unique ingredients. The Cali Burger sports a dollop of fresh, homemade guacamole and low-fat ranch dressing, and Bing's Signature Burger layers sauteed onions, gouda, and garlic aioli while also signing for incoming shipments.
Alice's Tea Cup is a self-described "dream come true" for sisters Hayley and Lauren Fox, Upper West Side natives and fervent believers in the magic of tea parties. Three Manhattan locations—nicknamed Chapters I, II, and III in homage to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—welcome patrons into cozy, light-filled spaces for breakfast, brunch, lunch and light supper, in addition to traditional afternoon tea. Whimsical interior touches abound, from Chapter II's turquoise "Looking Glass Room", decorated with translucent butterflies, to Chapter III's giant wall mural depicting the great hall Alice encounters in the book. Tiered trays of homemade sandwiches, cookies, and scones with jam and clotted cream share the menu with more than 100 varieties of tea, all precisely steeped in 180-degree, double-filtered water for optimal flavor. After polishing off elevenses at Chapters I or III, patrons can also peruse funky clothing, tea accouterments, and eclectic gifts at the retail shops featured at those locations, taking care to avoid dashing rabbits frantically checking their watches.