From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast one-third fewer calories than regular smoothies.
Cuppers Coffee House’s atmosphere isn't the only thing that makes it memorable. Sure, the shop is housed inside of a Victorian home—the last in Arizona with wooden quoins on its corners—but the carefully selected coffee and handmade drinks served inside make the quaint surrounds feel all the more special. The staff strives to curate an upper-tier selection of organic javas; after all, a “cupper” is the name for a professional coffee taste-tester. And so they use Arizona-roasted Arabica beans and feature two single origin blends–-one dark and one light––each week. From there, they blend coffee with milk to create creamy frappes and melt Dutch cocoa, Ghirardelli, and Mexican chocolate into a range of mochas. As for their espresso, they keep that recipe top-secret: they roast a special combination of beans to give it a chocolate undertone, like nearly every satirical essay written by Willy Wonka. While many of the beverages sound good enough to eat, Cuppers Coffee House also serves breakfast and lunch plates to quell munchies all day. Homemade syrup and whipped cream top crispy Belgium waffles and thin, "skinny" pancakes, while savory selections include house-made quiche and albacore tuna salad stuffed betwixt thick slices of toasted wheat bread. As for dessert, Cuppers has that covered, too: the staff bakes fresh cupcakes, lemon bars, scones, muffins, and coffeecake in house.
On a roadside in the Verde Valley, a restaurant beckons to passersby with the scents of hearty, home-cooked Southern and Southwestern cuisine. Nate's Cowboy Cafe relishes in its charming frontier aesthetic, a place where guests can sink their teeth into a well-marbled, charbroiled ribeye, sip margaritas from mason jars, or say "consarn it" without attracting any funny looks. Friendly, cowboy-hat clad servers roll out pints of frosty beer and plates laden with country-fried steaks, smoked-salmon tacos, and succulent, slow-cooked baby back ribs.
In about a century's time, the city of Cottonwood has gone from mining to artisan cheese making, Al Capone to craft beers. Once known as the bootleg capital of Arizona, it later served as a location for Wild West films before becoming a destination for fine foods. Old Town fixture Crema Cafe reaches out to neighborhood pubs, bistros, bakeries, and chocolatiers to assemble afternoons of strolling, sipping, snacking, and soaking up history for vacationers and hungry locals alike.