The talented team of taste-makers at Barb's Kolache Bakery whip up a menu starring the versatile Czech pastry. Kolaches are created daily by stuffing yeast dough with a filling that may include fruit, meat, poppy seeds, or more. Colorful fruit-topped kolaches, such as apple, blueberry, strawberry, and apricot ($1.40 each), can flavorfy bland palates while inspiring fruit-painted murals of the cast of Sesame Street. Turn meat roars into meat purrs with savory kolache varieties such as sausage and cheese or bacon and cheese ($1.70 each). Or, pacify cranky taste buds with Danish melt-a-ways, an amalgam of buttercream frosting, pecans, and streusel inside a buttery, flaky pastry shell ($2.30), or icing-slathered cinnamon rolls ($1.90). Barb's Kolache Bakery is open 6 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesday–Friday and 7 a.m.–1 p.m. on weekends.
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.
To create the ultimate hot bean juice, Bruegger's has teamed up with Green Mountain Coffee, which deftly wields the double-edged sword of rich, flavorful coffee and socially responsible fair-trade practices. Bruegger's coffee menu offers a slurpable rainbow of classic brews and unusual, globetrotting options ($1.59 for a small). Relish region-specific flavors and aromas from the misty hilltops of Tanzania, the lush farms of Mexico, or the turbulent moons of Endor. Membership in the Bottomless Mug Club also ensures free refills of steamy chai tea and hot chocolate (both $1.79 for a small), soft drinks ($1.59 for a small), and an assortment of hot teas ($1.39 for a small) for java-less jaunts. Although today's Groupon does not cover food, Bruegger's offers delectable deli eats to pair with your bottomless beverages, including kettle-boiled bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch fare.
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.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.