After transitioning out of a career in the entertainment and record industries, owner Jan Marc Dorfman jokes that he began looking for a new way to “sell round things with holes in the middle.” He fully embraced this new opportunity when he founded Delancey Street Bagels in November of 1989, originally stocking his shelves with 18 bagel varieties and a coffee machine that could only brew two pots at a time. Since then, he has expanded the selection to feature 22 different bagels—including cinnamon raisin, sourdough, and asiago cheese—as well as a full espresso bar with roasted arabica beans from organic and international producers as far away as Guatemala and Kenya. The staff fills the rest of the menu with hot deli sandwiches and an array of baked goods that can include muffins, cinnamon rolls, and scones alongside seasonal items.
Based on Delancey Street in New York City’s lower east side, a bustling corridor for local sidewalk vendors and pushcarts, the shop emanates nostalgia for an old-school marketplace with exposed brickwork and sepia-tone exit signs above the doors.
Since opening its first location in Atlanta in 2000, Moe's Southwest Grill has expanded to more than 30 states. Each location features the same thing, though: Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos, tacos, and nachos prepared in front of your nose using ingredients such as cage-free chicken, grass-fed steak, and organic tofu. Complementing the casualness of the food is the casualness of the restaurant in general. The menu items are named after television show and movie characters and the kitchen staff greets each guest who walks or teleports through the door.
Since its humble south Philadelphia beginnings in the 1990s, PrimoHoagies has quickly expanded throughout the region and garnered several awards on the strength of its cold-cut sandwiches, made with Thumann's brand of gourmet meats and cheeses. The shop's robust menu features dozens of specialty hoagies, many of which were created in-house rather than underwater, as is the industry norm. Sharp Italian hoagies teem with prosciutto and genoa salami, and pork Diablo hoagies marry Thumann's homestyle roasted pork with a blend of piquant spices.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.
Brew 22's executive chef plucks local ingredients to craft a menu filled with savory twists on classic tavern fare. The bulbous Brew burger ($12) busts up buns as proudly as the Hulk in home-economics class with a juicy cargo of Chapel Ridge Farms beef, Amish cheddar, and a fried egg. Roasted salmon ($16) walks a cedar plank before plummeting into pools of sweet-corn pudding and tomato confit, as hand-piped pork sausage ($14) slow-dances to symphonies of sauerkraut and an encore of roasted peaches. Cap meals with the chef's chocolate pretzel bathed in fudge and warm rivers of caramel sauce ($5).
Since the first Friendly's opened in 1935, staff members have been serving up hand-crafted ice cream in scoops, cones, and sundaes alongside juicy beef burgers crowned with crisp lettuce and tomatoes. Now with locations spanning the United States, Friendly's has come a long way from its first modest shop in Massachusetts, which sold double-dip cones for 5 cents. Today, servers scoop ice cream in classic flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and dish out new twists on the favorites, including Fribble soft-serve shakes and Friend-z ice-cream desserts whipped with toppings such as Oreos, Butterfingers, and Reese's peanut-butter cups. They also top crisp belgian waffles with scoops of ice cream and hot caramel and fill dishes with new ice-cream flavors such as Vienna Mocha Chunk and Rockin' Poppin' Cotton Candy.
Behind the grills, cooks build big beef burgers such as the Vermonter with melted vermont white cheddar and maple-pepper bacon on a toasted ciabatta roll. Healthier options include meals under 555 calories, such as the sweet and spicy grilled shrimp over rice pilaf and the chicken-caprese sandwich.