An extensive menu of fresh and comforting treats takes shape in Jefferson’s laid-back interior, where friendly servers warm up crowds with starters such as fried dill pickles ($3.00/$5.75), corn nuggets ($6.50), and Ultimate fries, smothered with three types of cheeses, Cajun seasoning, and a layer of crispy bacon ($6.95). Spice up a slow workday or a slow-moving fasting day with an order of Jefferson's fully customizable wings ($6.95 for 10), or nosh on a fried oyster po' boy, a hearty hoagie stuffed with fresh gulf oysters that are battered and fried until golden brown ($7.95). Other seafaring portions include fried catfish ($7.50), a spicy shrimp basket ($8.25), and a melodious band of fish 'n' chips fronted by soulful slaw and backed by harmonious hush puppies ($7.95). Customers craving candied confections can find fulfillment in slices of creamy peanut butter or pecan pie ($2.95 each).
In 1938, J. Oliver Wintzell opened a tiny seafood joint on Dauphin Street in historic Mobile, Alabama. With room for just six customers to hop up on barstools and sample oysters prepared in three signature styles—“fried, stewed, or nude"—the eatery harbored modest ambitions and kept itself in check with walls strewn with Oliver’s homespun sayings. Oysters this great can’t remain a secret for long, though, and Wintzell’s Oyster House began to grow at such a rate that Oliver was compelled to expand to new locations throughout Alabama.
Despite the restaurant’s rapid growth, remarkably little has changed since those early days. Oliver’s wit and wisdom still covers the walls, and the menu still tempts with its stuffed crabs, USDA-certified steaks, and signature oysters. In keeping with the cozy atmosphere Oliver cultivated by necessity more than 70 years ago, shuckers stationed at the oyster bar chat with diners as they garnish half shells with hickory-smoked bacon and slap away the tentacles of sneaky krakens. Tom Bross of Delta Sky Magazine has some helpful words of advice for first-time visitors to the restaurant: "Let the Southern hospitality, laid-back tempo and maybe a cold one help you unwind."
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant—today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pie designed for instant pick-up, and warm, garlicky Crazy Bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating its own charitable programs.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
in 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s Frozen Yogurt & Treats. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shop, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shop got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.
Founded by ice cream enthusiasts Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in 1945, Baskin-Robbins now serves tasty cold treats at more than 6,700 retail shops spread out over 50 countries. Customers glance through the glass at flavors of all color and texture, including standard bearers as well as the always-changing flavor of the month. Servers transform scoops into the classic banana split or a towering peanut-butter-cup sundae, decorated with hot fudge and Reese's peanut-butter sauce. Soft serve takes the form of cakes, parfaits, and 31 Below mix-in treats, while drinks such as strawberry-citrus Fruit Blast cools down mouths with a sweet yet icy embrace. Baskin-Robbins also offers ornate ice-cream cakes to celebrate an anniversary or successfully forging a college diploma.
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 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and 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&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.