Adam Greenberg refers to himself as “the world's pickiest eater,” which may explain Bagels 'n Grinds’ distinctive take on the celebrated baked good. Greenberg’s self-professed culinary perfectionism led him to create a secret 10-step bagel recipe that involves a colossal water-purification system, visible to patrons through a glass wall. With scientific precision and occasional mad-scientist cackles, the newly opened shop's staffers create 16 types of bagels that manage the tricky balance of crisp surfaces and soft insides.
Patrons can smear their bagels with low-fat, housemade cream cheeses infused with ingredients such as strawberries or lox, or opt for one of the café’s other creations, such as Bagnini sandwiches topped with piles of meat or marinated portobello mushrooms. Water from the café's purification system also goes into free-trade organic coffees and three different iced-coffee brews. Custom salads incorporate gourmet ingredients such as hormone-free chicken, candied walnuts, or toasted-parmesan crisps, while six distinctive soups are served in cups or bagel bowls. Non-edible amenities inside the new shop include free Internet access, a semi-private conference area, an 18-foot coffee bar, outdoor patio, and flat-screen TVs.
On any given day, the skilled pastry chefs and bakers bustling around Bakery Express’s and Ms. Desserts’ kitchens can be found whipping up all manner of mouthwatering nosh, from gourmet cheesecakes to quiches. As chefs throw open oven doors to withdraw their creations, the newly baked brownies, loaves, and cookies therein flood the air with fragrant wafts of fudge, peanut butter, and lemon. Along with batches of handheld treats, the bakers also craft custom cakes for special occasions ranging from birthdays and weddings to evolutionary mutations. In the factory store, glistening glass cases host trays full of baked goods, and a menu of deli sandwiches, soups, and wings quells the grumbles of stomachs in search of a savory repast.
At YogiCup, customers get to choose their own dessert destiny, whipping up endless combinations of frozen yogurt and toppings from self-serve machines. The yogurt selection changes frequently, showcasing new flavors of the week alongside customer favorites, such as peanut butter and mango.
At Art and Cake Bakery, bakers Eric and Alfie elevate sweet treats to fine art. The seasoned bakers have constructed edible versions of floats from the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race and have even festooned wedding cakes with sugary renditions of Dali’s melting clocks and van Gogh’s iconic swirling stars. The sunlit storefront is an extension of the staff's artistic sensibilities: colorful cases display delicate pastries, and lime-green walls tout local artwork as well as reward posters for cookie-jar thieves.
Vince’s Tasty Creations fuels festivities with platters of palatable appetizers, entrees, and custom baked goods. Vince's staff can meet with customers to devise menus that accommodate an event's theme, atmosphere, or expected number of hot-dog-eating champions in attendance. Since robotic caterers are no longer legal, Vince's furnishes a professional human staff to assist with serving and carving stations. Delectable deli sandwiches accompany gourmet entrees of eggplant parmesan and honey-citrus baked ham to create an enticing midday function. For breakfast gatherings, a hot buffet of eggs, bacon, and home-fried potato helps daybreak diners awaken. Specialty red velvet, peanut-butter, and double-chocolate cupcakes emerge from ovens within 24 hours of their scheduled pickup time. The pastry professionals can also decorate wedding cakes with messages, personalized drawings, or fondant sculptures of couples' favorite love boats.
Great Harvest’s devotion to the art of bread making is audible in the early morning, when its onsite mill softly hums as it grinds grain into high-fiber flour. Within minutes, this wholesome powder forms the foundation of baked sweets and healthy, homemade breads that are packed with flavor and free of preservatives. After being kneaded individually by hand, each freshly baked bread bundle emerges from the oven plump and fluffy. The bread selection changes each day according to a weekly schedule, but often includes loaves of honey whole wheat and Dakota bread—a baked bundle of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and millet. For guests who prefer treats that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, and deli sandwiches and Cafe Pronto coffee stand ready to round out lunches.