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.
During the signature mani-pedi, one of Simply Nails' experienced technicians files nail edges before trimming and cleaning unruly cuticles. OPI polish in the customer's chosen color spills onto keratin canvases before a 7-minute foot massage eases paws' stresses from outrunning cartoon coyotes. The deluxe mani-pedi bestows the aforementioned nail trimming, cleaning, and coloring as well as a skin-nourishing foot mask, infusing human hooves with nutrients that replace toxins evicted by the deluxe's extended 15-minute foot massage. Finally, a hot-stone massage warms troublesome areas, ripening them to optimal kneadability for a muscle-mending massage therapist or near-perfect Stretch Armstrong impersonations.
Domino's recently reformulated its pizza recipe, which puts the buyer in command of a plentitude of pie-personalizing possibilities. Test the sturdiness of a hand-tossed thin crust with mounds of hearty marinara, ham, chicken, green peppers, black olives, and spinach, or fill a deep-dish foundation with alfredo sauce, bacon, onions, jalapeños, fresh mushrooms, and banana peppers. While delicious design options stretch into infinity like a taffy pull in a black hole, the eatery's specialty pizzas make choosing more manageable. Peruse pies like the MeatZZa Feast, which is piled high with pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, beef, and extra mozzarella, and the Pacific Veggie, a flashy West Coast–concoction of roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, feta, mozzarella, and provolone.
At Dulce Dessert Boutique, fluffy frosting and moist, sweet cake are a siren's call to everyone who comes inside. It only helps that the shop's glass cases safely stow rows of cupcakes decorated with neon icing, homemade popcorn, and chocolate covered pretzels. But that's just the tip of what the bakers here dream up every day. Of their offerings, cake pops come with bright candy coatings and frosted cookies can be personalized, like with the name "Randy" to reflect the first name you wish you always had. In a departure from the standard cake flavors most bakeries offer, the specialty here is a classic Dominican cake that highlights the flavors of the Caribbean. Custom celebration cakes are also popular, with peanut butter cup and cinnamon crunch flavors in addition to artistic buttercream and fondant decorations to match a theme or style preference.
In 40 years, Hinnant Family Vineyards has had time to grow 87 acres of muscadine grapes that have been turned into succulent wines, some as old as the vineyard itself. While the wines are the specialty, the team also opens its gate to visitors seeking to learn about winemaking, picnic on the wraparound porch, celebrate their weddings, or attend a summer music festival.
As if the big-screen TVs, video games, and WiFi weren’t enough, now Stephen Harrell is on the lookout for a bounce house. It’s all part of his vision to make Nice Dreams Cafe a vibrant, welcoming place for young people to socialize. A lifelong resident of Raleigh, Stephen says he was alarmed by the absence of positive hangouts for kids in town. He hopes to fix that. “We don’t want it to just be grab-and-go here," he says. "We want people to be able to stay here and enjoy themselves.”
In keeping with the kid-friendly ambiance, servers scoop up achingly sweet confections such as Krispy Kreme donut sundaes, cake-batter ice cream, and toppings such as Snickers and gummy worms. Additionally, Stephen wants to further cement his café’s status as a community bastion by hosting frequent kid-friendly events and incorporating local ingredients into the menu. In the meantime, he has his eye on a few bounce houses.