In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Cupcake'm Cafe invites customers to customize their cupcakes by picking a flavor, a filling, and a type of icing. Visitors can create a variety of gourmet flavors including key-lime pie, S'mores Galore, Triple Berry Blast with real berry chunks in the icing, and black forest with shaved chocolate slices and a cherry on top. They can then munch on their massive cupcakes and relax in the cafe or surf the Internet on free WiFi. In addition to its namesake treat, Cupcake'm Cafe also serves sandwiches, bagels, and muffins.
Barry the Baker, the Bakery Nook’s proprietor, cultivated his professional skills at a university. He ran the bakery department at Lehigh University for 13 years—a mere fraction of his experience, which stretches as far back as the line at a particularly efficient DMV: more than 33 years. These days, he offers a traditional, local bakery experience complete with a variety of baked goods made fresh-to-order. He and his team prepare gourmet cupcakes in flavors such as lemon meringue, orange dreamsicle, and German chocolate. Barry and co. add a cavalcade of fresh pastries including turnovers, croissants, and scones. In addition to custom cake designs, they also gladly prepare cannoli, cheesecakes, and a large variety of pie flavors.
Three-Way Cafe's midday-meal sculptors adorn palates with a dynamic array of salads, sandwiches, and soups, with seasonal specials available daily and deli trays for catered parties. While relaxing amid colorful murals, guests strap on their tongues' rucksacks and explore lunch options such as the cuban sandwich, with thin slices of pork and ham smothered in swiss cheese. All of the café's eponymous daily specialties can be commissioned either as salads, grilled paninis, or quesadillas. The italian salad or panini holds pepperoni, genoa salami, capocollo, and roasted red peppers in a provolone embrace equal in strength to the blue-cheese bite of the buffalo-chicken salad or quesadilla. Large groups helm their own bready excursions with kaiser rolls and an assortment of ham, turkey, and roast beef on the Three-Way Cafe deli tray. The sliced-cheese tray supports a dairy-laden display, and the café's fresh cupcakes keep sweet teeth under control and provide ammunition for miniature catapults.
Since opening in March 2013, Beyond Cakes has baked, iced, and added decorative touches to a rotating selection of cupcakes. Open daily at 7 a.m., the bakery pairs fresh-brewed coffee with pastries, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches. The shop recently incorporated sweet and savory miniature pies into its daily selection of baked goods including a tomato pie on weekends. Beyond Cakes also awards a free cupcake to over-achieving students who bring in an honor roll sticker.