The baristas at Jake’s Coffee, Tea and Sandwiches slake cravings with a menu of freshly ground coffee, pastries, and grilled sandwiches. Guests can coax sleepy eyelids open by offering them a sip of espresso ($1.75 medium), creamy cappuccino ($3 medium), or hot chocolate ($2.25), or send taste buds a variety of teas in handcrafted silken bags ($1.95 medium), which release delicate flavors and aromas as they steep or run marathons. Visitors can pair the cafe's drinkables with a made-from-scratch pastry, such as a light, airy scone ($2.05) or a fluffy cream-cheese croissant ($2.75). To fill a sandwich-shaped space in the stomach, diners can down a grilled portobello panini with sun-dried tomato pesto on foccacia bread ($7.25), or a french dip chock full of roast beef, mushrooms, cheese, and grilled onions ($7.25).
The menu at Pizza & Beer offers generously portioned plates for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. The show stopper pizza is stacked pie-high with salami, pepperoni, ham, linguica, bacon, sausage, and an exclamatory fistful of extra-cheesy goodness ($13.89 for a small). Mounds of pleasantly palatable produce can be found on the veggie pizza, served with garlic sauce, mushroom, onion, bell pepper, tomato, artichoke hearts, and green onion ($13.89 for a small). For custom circlesumption, customers can build their own special pizza (starting at $7.98 for a small) or calzone (up to four toppings for $6.99). In terms of ice-cold beer, the eatery plays host to an impressive lineup of domestics, imports, and microbrews, many of which arrive in glorious, pitcher-perfect fashion.
Dream Dinners founders Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna want to help families gather around the table for delicious meals. Like many parents throughout the country, the two women tried to coordinate a family dinner, but their efforts were often thwarted by hectic schedules. As a dinnertime strategy, Stephanie began to prepare meals with fresh, raw ingredients and then freeze them so they could be quickly thawed and cooked during the week. This tactic became popular with her family. Before long, friends, friends of friends, and chimpanzee families that mimicked their friends wanted to learn her secrets. With help from Tina Kuna, she established the first Dream Dinners location, and the successful food-prep business has led to the creation of more than 90 stores in less than three years.
At each Dream Dinners location, customers find all the culinary tools to prepare a nutritious meal—everything from fresh ingredients to meal-packing materials. Each week Dream Dinners features a new menu of fix-and-freeze dinners that can be made for up to six people, providing customers with numerous options for planning quiet meals at home or dinner parties with friends. All ingredients are precut and measured to ensure an error-free fixing.
When it came time for the team at Johnny Carino’s to come up with some new recipes, they began rifling through their personal cooking histories. Executive chef Chris Peitersen took his first kitchen job at a barbecue joint when he was 14, so he was primed to create italian baby back ribs. By infusing brown sugar barbecue sauce with balsamic vinegar imported from Modena, he’s given the marinade a more acidic bite than typical barbecue sauces. As the ribs slowly roast and char on an oak grill, he bastes on his creation before finishing the dish with a dusting of parmesan.
The ribs are one of Carino’s many menu items that follow the restaurants’ approach of classic Italian preparations modified by forward-thinking flavor combinations. Diners will find a Black Angus burger capped with mozzarella and fried pepperoni, or sautéed tilapia spiced with garlic and jalapeño. Other signature dishes include the 16-layer lasagna, Skilletinis that sizzle with spaghetti and a choice of meat, and tiramisu made from scratch.
Anne and Jonas Beiler never meant to create the pretzel juggernaut that is Auntie Anne's. When they bought their first farmers' market stand, they intended it to fund their community-counseling outreach. Instead, they just happened to craft pretzels that were "better than the best you've ever tasted!" Twenty-four years later, the company has risen faster than dough baked on the sun, with 1,200 locations in 46 states and more than 23 countries. While rolling more than 500,000 pretzels every two days, the company has stayed true to its original menu of pretzels with a twist. Today the varieties span from original salt covered to cinnamon-sugar, garlic, or pepperoni pretzels, and baking kits are available so that customers can have them at home or the cruise-ship engine room that’s currently serving as home.