When Craig and Lea Culver created the first Culver’s restaurant in 1984, they wanted to serve homemade burgers like Craig’s mom used to make. These burgers—now known as the ButterBurgers—are made with fresh, Midwest beef patties, and served on a toasty, buttered bun. The burgers are also what helped put Culver’s on the map—there are now more than 500 locations scattered across 19 states. At each restaurant, patties are cooked right on the grill. The other main hallmark of Culver’s menu is its rich, creamy frozen custard, which you can have drizzled with hot fudge or use as a foundation for a signature Concrete Mixer and have it decorated with Oreos and Butterfingers.
From the colorful checkered walls to the menu of hearty comfort food, the owners at Cozy Cafe strive to create a nostalgia-tinged dining experience. The vast menu is marked by homemade entrees, including blue-plate specials of meatloaf, hot roast beef, or hot roast pork, all served with homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. Staff serve up Grounds for Celebration coffee drinks, and for breakfast, chefs flip the traditional array of omelets and pancakes and offer homemade cinnamon rolls as well as biscuits and gravy.
Jill Comes built Sweet Diva around a butter-cookie recipe that had been passed down through her family for generations, and she's quick to let the uninformed know that her rich butter cookies are a step above standard sugar cookies. Over the years, Jill fine-tuned the consistency of the royal-almond icing she uses until it allowed her to decorate her creations with the same freedom an artist has when painting on a canvas or turning the White House into the Formerly White House. Along with the custom cookie cutouts, Jill bakes cupcakes and cake-based lollipops called cake balls, personalizing each order to accommodate the needs of all customers and any type of occasion.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$6.95 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with flour freshly milled on-site every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include asiago cheese & sun-dried tomato, cranberry orange, savory potato and pizza rolls, and parmesan pesto. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes sweet-tooth sating confections such as scones, muffins, cookies, and bars in flavors such as raspberry swirl and ginger.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original recipe, enticing customer's eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a selection of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which are then skillfully blended atop a frozen marble slab before placing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team for sprucing up special events such a corporate get-togethers or school functions with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.
Iowa Bakery Café is a locally owned confectionary and café that serves a menu packed with breakfast basics, soups, and sandwiches made from scratch. Kettle-boiled bagels cover the flavor spectrum with sun-dried tomato, cinnamon raisin, and the everything bagel ($1.20/each; $11.99/dozen). The eggwich is a delicious confluence of egg, molten cheese, and optional meat piled between a bagel ($3.69–$4.69) that was cut in half during a botched magic trick. The café hosts two soup flavors daily, and specialty sandwiches ($2.49–$7.99) such as the hot ham and cheese or pizza bagel hug to the fresh-baked warmth of a bagel, croissant, or focaccia bread. A variety of espresso drinks ($2.49–$3.99) clear satisfied passageways and add boosts of energy for researching the origin of the bagel's misplaced center.