Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
Harley, the founder of Strawberry Hill Povitica Company, began baking povitica bread in 1984 using his mother's traditional Slavic recipe. He passed away in 1999, but his children and dedicated bakers continue to prepare the dense, sweet bread following his mother's technique. They roll dough into paper-thin layers, pile on ingredients such as nuts and honey, and roll the layers into loaves that weigh 2.5 pounds each after they're baked. Patrons can choose from Kosher-certified flavors such as english walnut, cokolada, or chocolate-chip cream cheese. The bread can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: toasted and buttered, crowned with a scoop of ice cream, or sandwiched around a whole roasted turkey.
Family owned and operated since 1937, Velvet Creme Popcorn’s staff of devoted kernel craftspeople roasts gourmet flavors with traditional, hand-operated poppers. Crispy popcorn flavors including buttered, cheese, caramel, and cinnamon overflow from snack or gallon bags to be devoured by throngs of salt-lusting snackers. Decorative tins hold gallons full of flavored, popable snacks for nights of at-home movie viewing. Though not included in this offer, Velvet Creme Popcorn also runs an upstanding Snack of the Month club, where patrons can sign up to have popcorn gifts delivered worldwide to loved ones or as threats to corncob enemies.
Named one of the top-five bakeries in the Kansas City area in 2009 by CityVoters, Dolce Baking Company whips up small batches of delicately beautiful specialty pastries every day. Dolce's menu features traditional sweets as well as creative treats that incorporate seasonal ingredients and flavors, such as an apple cinnamon roll drizzled with a local apple-cider reduction ($3), sweet-potato scones donning a maple glaze ($2.65), and pumpkin whoopee pies teeming with cream-cheese filling ($3.25). Perennial favorites include cupcakes ($2.25), rustic apple tarts ($4 per slice), and the chocolate blackout cake ($17 for a 6 in., serves 4–6), which may cause power outages.
At the age of 12, Angela Sims made her first dessert: a lemon-meringue pie for her mother, who hadn't been feeling well. As soon as she saw the smile that spread across her mother's face with each bite, her passion for baking was born. Sims would go on to spend hours in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother, learning that baking desserts is less about mixing together ingredients than it is about connecting with other people.
Sims took that lesson to heart when she founded Desserts by Angie. Originally based out of a home, the bakery was forced to expand to a larger factory once word got out about its delicious cakes, pies, and cupcakes. Whether she’s accommodating regular customers, wholesale orders, or catered pie fights, Sims continues to bake according to her "Momma's" recipes, which call for no preservatives and made-from-scratch everything.:m]]
Evoking the enjoyable meltiness of a cool scoop of gelato on a hot day, Paciugo Gelato takes its name from the Italian word for messy concoction, rousing palates with unique gelato flavors crafted with Old-World tastes. Founder Cristiana Ginatta’s family recipes come to life as staffers fuse fresh fruits and all-natural ingredients into decadent milk-, water-, or soy-based gelato and sorbet. The sweet scoops boast 70% less fat than regular ice cream or soft-serve obtained from chilly Alaskan cows. Patrons can test-drive the shop’s diversely flavored bounty before committing to a flavor such as carrot cake, butter pecan, or tiramisu in its less solid form. Guests can score flavors without added sugar—including strawberry milk—to trick their sweet teeth into happiness. Paciugo also carries a host of coffee drinks ranging from Paciugo Miscela, a bold Vienna roast, to Gran Crú, a light roast from Kenya.