Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Inside the historic, 145-year-old building, dozens of teapots and accessories collected by current owner Mary Ann Waldorf line curtain-swathed shelves. Whether joining friends for a luncheon, purchasing some specialty foods and gift baskets, or savoring high tea in the Angel Room, visitors of the tin-ceilinged teahouse find themselves transported to what seems like another time and place. Teapots, purchasable jewelry, and seasonal tea blends may not be the only Gourmet Junction dwellers; local mediums say the ghosts of Plainfield's first inhabitants tread the hardwood floors.
Within 10,000 square feet of space at Ball Factory Indoor Play & Cafe, kids up to age 13 burn off energy by meandering through mazes, racing down a 30-foot slide, and climbing up four levels in a 2,000-square-foot play structure. Play areas have soft indoor play equipment with extensive padding and no sharp edges.
For family celebrations - such as birthdays and special occasions - Ball Factory Indoor Play & Cafe offers private party rooms hosted by trained staff to provide everything a child would want in a birthday. The venue desires playtime to be as rewarding for the parents as it is for the children, as they spend time together.
Great American Bagel Burr Ridge's family-owned bakery doles out dozens of its fresh-made dough discs from its brand-new location. Each bagel is mixed from scratch and steam-baked every day for maximum chewiness. The ring bearers also offer catering services, with platters for business meetings and wedding cakes made entirely from bagels slathered in cream cheese.
The tufted leather booths that line the perimeter of D'wan Hookah Lounge encourage not just sitting, but rather sinking into. The entire room, with its vaulted ceilings, dim lighting, and exposed brick columns, seems ready-made for leisurely socialization and casual conversation. And the hookahs only exacerbate the laid-back feel. Staffers bring guests freshly packed hookahs filled with aromatic blends of tobacco including safari melon dew, citrus mint, and tangerine dream. Customers can pick and choose blends??the menu features roughly 50 flavors??and then sink into their booths to chat about life between pulls from their hookahs, all the while blowing smoke rings that would make bubbles weep.