Stepping inside The Pizza Machine & Co. always feels a little bit like stepping into a carnival. Staffers hand-toss discs of dough high into the air like jugglers, a pizza-themed chandelier mimics the feeling of a fun house, and an in-house buggy touted as the world’s first pizza-delivery vehicle acts as an intriguing sideshow. Though the sights might draw customers in, the shop, like any good carnival, has to keep them coming back. That’s where the restaurant’s chefs come in, creating hand-tossed pizzas and Italian cuisine in both classic forms and zany reinventions. Take their signature 40-inch pizza, for instance, which dons an unlimited combination of toppings to feed several dozen people. Their standard-sized pizzas often mimic the flavors of classic dishes, as with such fan favorites as the bruschetta, the hero, and the taco pizza. They also pair their pies with appetizers and desserts such as cheesy breadsticks, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and s’mores pizzas to create a meal as flavorful as a Willy Wonka employee’s severance package.
Up in Smoke Smokehouse & Bar B Que opened its doors in June 2012, liberating the aromas of slow-smoked brisket and pork into the surrounding lakeside air. Inside, chefs step out from behind plumes of smoke produced by hickory wood to place their meaty masterpieces next to classic Southern sides, which are always handmade and never crafted from leftovers or won during games of jacks with rival restaurants. Group options, such as Up in Smoke's picnic package, fill the bellies of entire families, and a kids' menu is also available.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
In 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shoppe, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shoppe got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.
Hearty eats are on the menu at V & C Grill, including slow-cooked barbecue and authentic Caribbean eats such as oxtail and jerk chicken. There’s even a daily, all-you-can eat breakfast buffet with biscuits and gravy, grits, and other southern favorites. The restaurant has been serving up classic American, Caribbean, and soul food for more than 12 years, or approximately the length of time it takes an elephant to forget an old phone number.