From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
White Velvet Frozen Yogurt tickles the milk of grass-fed Michigan cows with sprinkles of cane sugar until it giggles out rich, tart frozen yogurt. The tangy handcrafted semi-solid is then swirled into cups along with the tantalizing toppings of your choosing. Update staid fruit salad with concoctions involving blueberry, kiwi, strawberries, and dried pineapple, or swaddle a yowling sweet tooth with spoonfuls swimming in chocolate, cookies or cereal. Thanks to its simple, natural ingredients, the treat can be low in calories, sugar, and fat, and contains all the health benefits associated with natural yogurt, making it a healthier alternative to ice cream and frozen corn dogs.
In 1989, with memories of his high-school job as an ice-cream shop attendant fresh in his mind, John Ritter founded Ritter’s Frozen Custard to share his passion for the dense, creamy concoctions of his youth with a new generation of dessert lovers. Today, the Ritter Frozen Custard franchise remains dedicated to handcrafting frozen custard in batches that blend the treat’s French origins with a heaping dose of midcentury Americana. The rotating lineup of flavors always includes chocolate, vanilla, light vanilla, a nut variety, a fruit variety, and a specialty flavor—all of which contain a scant 10% butterfat. Clad in blue aprons, friendly staff members scoop custard into freshly baked waffle cones, blend shakes with a choice of 27 toppings, and decorate creamy cakes for any occasion. The shop’s mixologists never fluff up their ice cream with air, ensuring that custard that fills each cone, take-home quart, or waffle-lined pocket maintains a rich and creamy texture.
Though the recipes are kept secret, the ingredients that go into Y'OPA Frozen Yogurt's eponymous dessert are proudly publicized. Yogurt-makers blend real dairy and fruit purees with probiotic cultures to create a rotating selection of flavors, nearly all of which are low in sodium and cholesterol. Said flavors run the gamut from nonfat birthday cake and sugar-free wild strawberry to seasonal options, such as chocolate mint. Only the toppings outnumber the self-serve shop's flavors. More than 70 ? including fresh fruit, cookie dough, and baklava ? can smother each customized treat.
Voted Best Student Hangout and one of the best venues for live music and performances by the Kalamazoo Gazette, The Strutt presents crowd-pleasing American fare and nightly musical entertainment for stimulating study breaks or an evening out. The menus feature appetizers that include the black-bean-queso dip ($5.95), and heartier stomach stuffers, such as The Sloppy José, which puts a spicy, south-of-the-border spin on a classic dish ($4.95). Meanwhile, meat eschewers can chew on plentiful vegetarian options, including the roasted-veggie quesadilla ($5.95) or the Blue Apple salad, with apples, raisins, red onion, toasted almonds, and gorgonzola tossed in shallot vinaigrette ($6.95). A full bar, extensive beer list, and nightly drink specials complement any meal or musical act, and the plentiful brunch –– with live jazz on Saturday and bluegrass on Sunday –– and breakfast make this spot a go-to from day to day after.
Barista Blues West styles itself after an Italian café, creating a place where guests can sip and dine as they catch up with old friends. From the early hours of the morning onward, the staff creates the fresh-baked goods, soup du jour, and deli sandwiches that come stocked with more layers of meat than a linebacker on an all-kebab football team. As guests savor their meals with a hot tea or a bubbly italian soda, they can socialize at a sunny table or watch musician Michael Angelo strum and sing on select evenings.