The Ravioli Shop's founder, Bill Kenney, feels so much pride in his store’s fresh-made products that if he notices a customer holding an odd pairing of ravioli and sauce, he’ll tactfully and enthusiastically suggest a swap. The rest of the team demonstrates the same dedication to furnishing excellent meals, guiding patrons through a dozen ravioli varieties and five regular sauces with personal advice, a handy online chart, and the ability to decipher the true desires of growling stomachs.
Staffers might recommend pairing their seasonal pumpkin ravioli with a sage and brown-butter sauce or perhaps their decadent lobster ravioli with vodka-cream sauce made with slow-pasteurized cream from a local dairy. In addition to pasta, the staff also bakes fresh bread daily, crafting semolina loaves, baguettes, and six varieties of focaccia early each morning. All ravioli, sauces, and breads are made from scratch, with 100% durum flour and fresh eggs infusing each sheet of pasta and roasted veggies and fresh-ground cheeses providing soft pockets of filling.
The Bagel Bin Cafe delights dough-wheel denizens with 21 bagel flavors to please a wide array of persnickety palates. With a bagel and cream cheese ($2.59) as your canvas and palette, create colorful combinations, such as honey sunflower with a daub of bacon scallion, to shock taste buds suffering from bouts of lingual ennui. Conclude overnight abstentions with pizzazz with breakfast specials ($5.95 each), including eggs and a choice of cheese grilled to golden-brown between a blanket of italian bread in the breakfast panini, or a six-piece serving of french toast with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.
Perkins began as a single humble Ohio pancake house in 1958. More than 50 years––and 440 national locations––later, each Perkins restaurant stays true to its roots by keeping those signature buttermilk pancakes the focal point of a 90-plus-item menu. Cooks layer the popular flapjacks in stacks of two, three, or even five and make the fluffy towers all the more tempting with toppings such as glazed strawberries, whipped cream, or flavored syrups. Breakfast favorites—including hearty omelets and country benedicts—are served all day, meaning kids and adults can order short stacks to accompany their jumbo-shrimp or steak dinner, instead of smuggling them in under a stovepipe hat. Unlike most other chain restaurants, Perkins also features in-store bakeries that churn out the shop's real fruit and cream pies, muffins, and chocolate-chip cookies.
Name-sharing owners Jonathan and John spoil patrons with a host of handcrafted confections, all anchored in high-quality ingredients, such as farm-fresh organic eggs. Bakers tuck sweet potatoes, sugar, and spices into sheets of warm piecrust when sculpting sweet-potato pockets ($3.50 each), perfectly sized for individual dessertists. Each jumbo muffin ($3.50) can soak up one full gallon of coffee while keeping bellies company through lunch, where Beyond Chocolate cookies ($1.50 each; $18/dozen) offer sweet endings to midday meals with dark-chocolate chunks. To potentially improve eyesight while definitely increasing cream-cheese content, customers can snatch up a carrot cake, a classic treat speckled with raisins ($12 for small 6-inch cake; $25 for two-layer 6-inch cake).
Ron and Rebecca Malek lead the baking staff at Balsam Bagels as it produces upwards of 200-dozen bagels a night, selling and distributing these 2,400 circles of sustenance to local colleges, coffee shops, and delis. Snag 12 bagels for yourself, with flavors such as sesame, wheat, rye, sun-dried tomato, pesto, blueberry, french toast, and salsa jalapeño, bringing the heat like a Nolan Ryan–thrown bagel. Customers can opt for 12 of the same bagels for a Bunyan-sized breakfast, or they can mix and match for a variety of spread-worthy circles. Enjoy your bagels from the privacy of your own hut, or split them with friends in the bakery's outdoor seating section.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.