After eating sushi on their first date, one young couple realized that their town lacked a postdinner hangout spot for all crowds. Though the couple didn’t let this spoil their evening—they married later that year—it did instill them with the entrepreneurial spirit, leading them to found Sweet Tree Yogurt. The family-friendly eatery fans the flames of dessert cravings with more than 30 self-serve yogurt flavors packed with live and active probiotics and more than 50 candy and fruit toppings. Customers fill cups or upside-down witch hats with the yogurt of their choice, from low-fat varieties such as vanilla and cookies 'n' cream to sugar-free or fat-free treats including chocolate and cheesecake. They next crown their cups at the expansive toppings bar, which teems with almonds, candy bars, fresh fruit, and syrups. Finally, completed desserts rest on a scale at the weigh station to determine the amount of moola due and whether each cup will fight in the welterweight or featherweight division.
Since 1977, the cookie craftsmen at Great American Cookies have shared edible sentiments via fresh-baked and hand-decorated cookie cakes. Composed of premium ingredients and hand-adorned with frosting, the 16-inch round cookie cake can feed 8–16 people or approximately 200 industrious tree elves. The shop’s website caters to sweet requests with an online store full of preconceived designs searchable by occasion, recipient gender, and theme. Alternatively, nibblers can orchestrate specific decoration cravings and create unique designs to celebrate special events, such as baby’s first hedge fund.
Since the tender age of 8, owner Laina Woodard Smith of Madison Cupcake Company has baked and ornamented cupcakes fueled by her passion for elegant design and fresh ingredients. In addition to traditional cupcake flavors, the company boasts daily specials of avant-garde medleys such as strawberry cheesecake, banana split, and malted milk ball. The company also vends frosting shots, dollops of sweetness topped with candy crumbles or fruit, and can produce customized baked goods to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or the arrival of a brand-new box of checks.
At three local donut shops, bakers frost fresh batches of long johns, cake donuts, and sundry other sweets every morning, augmenting sugary starts with savory breakfast croissants and biscuits. Pastries such as glazed donuts ($0.59), éclairs ($0.80), and bear claws ($1) take a swipe at hunger, and cinnamon rolls ($1.15) unravel into sweet, flaky layers. Customers can ponder the perplexing solidity of donut holes ($0.12 each; $1.25/dozen) while waiting for a steamy croissant sandwich packed with ham and cheese ($3.25). While prepping hot kolaches or pigs in a blanket ($1 small; $2 large), bakers tuck hot dogs into a pillowy dough blanket before telling them "I love you" one final time.
Tampico Mexican Grill’s expert chefs sizzle fresh meats and veggies to forge a variety of traditional dishes, served with homemade salsa. Culinary expeditions or temporary sculptures begin with fresh guacamole, prepared to taste with diner-selected ingredients such as cilantro and jalapeños ($4.99). The pollo Tampico’s marinated grilled chicken breast cozies beneath a melted cheese blanket ($10.99), and breaded and deep-fried chicken or steak pair ably with a single roasted jalapeño and hearty helping of fries in the Milanesa Tampico ($9.99). Five fajita offerings sail sizzling to plates in portions for either solo diners or dynamic duos, with fresh scallops, shrimp, or steak filling a choice of flour or corn tortillas ($10.99+). Midday munchers can fill plates or fanny packs with 1 of 19 lunch specials, including meat-centric and vegetarian options. Several beers and wines wash down meals, while frozen or rocks margaritas quench thirsts in several sizes, including regular ($4.25+), jumbo ($6.99+), and monster ($10.99+).