Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings?in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. Ben & Jerry's also offers Greek frozen yogurt in flavors such as banana peanut butter, raspberry fudge chunk, and blueberry vanilla graham. The duo is famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
Soro Chill and Grille's glass-lined door stands as a gateway to creative drinks, contemporary Southern cooking, and the sounds of local bands strumming familiar tunes. The menu unfolds to reveal appetizers brimming with seafood and creole sauces meant to be sopped up with crusty french bread or unusually absorbent mustaches. Entrees of pasta, steaks, and roast chicken follow the same Southern traditions by donning Cajun blackened spices or piquant barbecue sauce, inspiring diners to finger paint plates with love letters to the chef. Soro's commitment to supporting the community extends past menu ingredients to locally made furniture and live music performed by Roanoke artists. The welcoming stone fireplace warms guests, and a large communal table encourages mingling or 30-person games of patty-cake.
Like a good book, the frozen-yogurt flavors at Frogurt can transport you to another time and place: there are flavors from exotic locales, such as Hawaiian pineapple and Tahitian vanilla. There?s a hint of summertime in their pink-lemonade sorbet, too, and it?d be easy to imagine celebrating your birthday in a cryogenic chamber with the birthday-cake-flavored frozen yogurt. Every day, 10 of these flavors occupy self-serve machines set against Frogurt's colorfully tiled walls. Many of them are sugar-free, low-fat, nonfat, or dairy-free and provide a healthy boost of probiotics. Feel free to personalize each serving with any of 95 kinds of toppings, such as peanuts, fruit boba, berries, and even breakfast cereals; at the register, you?ll be charged by the ounce.
The grill gurus at Smoqin’ Odie’s Grill and Smokehouse sizzle up a lunch and dinner menu burgeoning with burgers, pulled pork, and steak. Sauces ranging from spicy jamaican jerk to tangy chipotle lime outfit slow-cooked wings ($3.99 for 6; $7.49 for 12) more tastily than miniature leather vests. The friendly staff whisks entrees to tables such as the Smoqin’ Odie’s Big Burger, whose char-grilled half-pound patty day dreams on a fluffy 5-inch Kaiser bun ($4.49), or the Smokehouse chili, which is loaded with smoked brisket simmered with ground beef and chilies ($2.99/cup; $4.29/bowl). Mouths water at the aroma of hickory-smoked Boston butt in a pulled-pork sandwich ($4.49 regular; $6.99 jumbo), and hands comfort provolone as it faints onto the savory brisket tucked into a hefty hoagie bun ($7.99).
The staff at Yogurt Cafe fills self-serve yogurt machines with a menu of flavors that rotate every 10 days. Guests sculpt smooth, spiraling hillocks of frozen yogurt ($0.45/ounce) in flavors such as carrot cake, classic vanilla or chocolate, and mango tango and heap on ornaments from a range of more than 50 toppings. Fresh fruit, candy corn, and butterscotch sauce help hide snowy yogurt peaks from scorned skiers, and the aromas of roasting Caribou coffee ($1.50–$1.70) drift in earthy clouds over mochas ($4.25), which warm up frozen windpipes and sluggish neurons. Sweet teeth sink into baked delights such as raspberry- walnut pastries ($1.99 for three) and blueberry scones ($2.25) to quiet tummies grumbling like Smokey the Bear touring a fireworks factory, and patrons check emails on Yogurt Cafe's free WiFi.
The chefs at Nawab mix freshly ground spices on the premises, creating custom blends that infuse entrees and sauces with a traditional Indian bite. Vegetable samosas trace the roots of their flavors to mixed veggies and toasted spices ($3.95), putting them in the same family tree as the grilled potato patties in tikki chole ($5.95). Channeling the tastes of northern Indian cuisine, chicken curry treats mouths to a gentle mélange of pureed onions and savory spices ($12.50), and the lamb vindaloo roasts taste buds with a peppery mix of meat and garlic sauce that simulates a sweat-inducing tour of the earth's core without the need to rent expensive drills or haggle with the molemen's travel agent ($14.95). Vegetable mango simmers veggies in an herb-mango sauce before arriving ($12.95), priming diners for a Punjabi-style chana masala ($10.95). Amid the sleek sconces and exotic paintings of Nawab's decorous dining room, patrons can toast to successful first dates or last days as a rodeo clown while sipping a variety of wines, desserts, and a selection of liquor coffees.