From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
Orange City may be located in Iowa, but its heart and soul belong to the Low Countries. Named after Prince William of Orange, the town was founded in the 1870s; in the decades since, it has retained its unique ties to the Netherlands. These ties are evident in the tulip fields, in the Dutch-inspired architecture, and especially in the food at Nederlander's Grill. The restaurant's menu combines Dutch and American influences in its fried steaks, pea soup, and seasoned pork and rice dishes. Of course, some of the dishes are Dutch in name only. Take, for example, the Big Dutch burger: this third-pound behemoth features 100% Angus beef smothered with pepper jack and american cheeses on a grilled ciabatta bun.
Backed by five generations of popcorn-making pedigree, sisters Beth Boettcher and BJ McClellan trained where it counts—their mother’s kitchen. Armed with family methods and recipes, they craft housemade gourmet treats that feature real Jolly Time popcorn. After prepopping the corn, they coat it with yummy ingredients to create flavors that range from classic caramel and cheddar cheese to cinnamon roll, raspberry cheesecake, and chocolate-drizzled caramel. They fashion gift packages for all occasions, from birthdays and holidays to movie nights, office parties, and casual snacking.
Every day, the passionate bakers of The Sugar Shack Bakery create a legion of decadent treats that range from simple sugar cookies to eye-catching wedding cakes. Their delicious two-layer cakes pair flavors such as carrot, red velvet, and german chocolate with sweet fillings and frostings including bavarian cream, chocolate fudge, and lemon curd. Cake pops and cake truffles battle with traditional and cheesecake-style cupcakes in the competition for sweetest hand-held treats, a game that?s also contested by the bakery?s bars?in flavors such as grasshopper brownie and chocolate-caramel oat?cookies, and cookie bouquets.
Bathed in celebratory splashes of bright color, the spare and low-lit interior of The Lighthouse Bar & Grill seems somewhere between a lounge and a banquet hall. Shimmering beer signs join flat-screen TVs in illuminating the dining area and dance floor. It's under this glow that servers dish out burgers, pork tenderloin, and beer while revelers and the occasionally DJ pack in for seasonal parties.