It's likely that when walking into a Big Apple Bagels, people won't just see baskets overflowing with fresh bagels, but they'll be able to smell fresh dough baking in the air. That's because bagels are both made and sold at each location, giving customers the chance to order up warm, chewy bagels in gourmet flavors such as blueberry cobbler and quiche lorraine. The cream cheeses are similarly diverse in flavor, as people can smear their bagels with onion chive, cheddar jalapeno, or whipped brown-sugar cinnamon. The menu also features New York-style deli sandwiches served on bagels and freshly tossed salads.
BAB serves products from their two sister brands, Brewster's Coffee and My Favorite Muffin, the latter of which uses soybean oil to keep their muffins moist yet low in cholesterol. Many locations also serve Freshëns smoothies, whose ripe-fruit blends are rich with healthy vitamins because unhealthy vitamins don't exist.
Joined by her husband and close friends, founder Denise Mehl sought to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment. The result is Jungle Java, where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's café carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.
Before they scoop ice cream into a waffle cone, whip it into a smooth chocolate shake, or pack it in pints, quarts, or half-gallons to carry home, the dessert masters at Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream Parlor have to craft the ice cream from a 14% butter fat ice cream mix. This mix is what gives the old-fashioned ice cream its smooth and creamy texture—an ideal canvas to cover with whole nuts, real fruit chunks, and fudge caramel, much like any canvas hanging in a museum. The scoop-wielders dole out 44 flavors in all, including exotic recipes such as Majestic Milky Way and maple-walnut alongside the old standbys of chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan.
Keeping the culture of independent coffee shops alive, the friendly baristas at the Italian-style Ani’s Caffe brew up energizing lattes, mochas, and coffee amid deep crimson walls and cozy leather sofas. As steaming mugs of hot tea steep at the old-fashioned counter, staff scoop out cones and cups of dozens of decadent, local Ray’s Ice Cream flavors to complement freshly made espresso drinks. Additionally, every Friday and Saturday evening, the café invites local musicians to serenade its guests, who can always catch up with imaginary friends online using the shop’s free WiFi.
The Dessert Oasis' expert baristas conjure more than 300 kinds of coffee drinks out of caffeinated air and matchmake them to the sundry eponymous sweets baked fresh every day. A café mocha ($2.85–$3.95) or a latte ($2.45–$3.45) might arrive adorned with an artistic dollop of milk foam in the shape of a flower, heart, or eerily accurate portrait of Queen Elizabeth. The full-bodied house blend ($1.45–$2.10) or a complexly flavored cup of 100 percent Kona beans ($3.50–$5) fuel inject a more straight-up jolt into drowsy commuters. The eatery's signature cheese or chocolate fondue ($9.95–$19.95) add a delicious coating to any dippable delight, be it a hunk of bread or neighbor's car keys.