Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
The faculty of local artists at Wine and Design in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant helps students create works of art in a social, supportive setting with lessons designed for people with no artistic experience. After uncorking bottles of wine and kegs of paint, budding artists spend two hours imitating pros stroke for stroke as they transform canvases into paintings of colorful landscapes and vibrant still lifes. Guests of any experience level are welcome and Wine and Design provides all necessary materials, including paint, brushes, and corkscrews.
In addition to regular classes, Wine and Design offers private parties and Art Buzz summer camp for kids at both Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley. In an effort to paint it forward (Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley), they also donate funds to causes, such as Relay For Life and the MUSC Children's Hospital.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Substituting healthful probiotics for the fat and Slim-Jims preferred by other frozen-treat chains, Yobe refreshes taste buds with guilt-free spoonfuls of all-natural self-serve yogurt. Made with organic milk, fruit, and no artificial sweeteners, each ounce of yogurt packs a mere 25 calories, resulting in icy spoonfuls that are lighter and more refreshing than a fashion magazine printed on a feather. The shop's soft-serve machines dish out 31 classic and exotic flavors such as açaí berry, passion fruit, lychee, and vanilla ($0.49/oz.). After piling bowls high with choices from 26 toppings—including fresh bananas, kiwi, and pineapple or m&ms, cookie dough, and peanut-butter cups—formerly tone-deaf taste buds may find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
Empire Pizza and Bar's menu enthralls taste buds with tales of New York–style pizza and comfort fare served in a family-friendly atmosphere. Empire Pizza’s seven signature pies include royal chow such as the Queens Margarita, a New York mash-up of garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil ($6.95, 10"), as well as the Mag Pie Lane veggie pizza, fueled by premium eggplant gasoline and tomatoes, black olives, and green and banana peppers ($16.45, 16"). Tongues can sample appetizers such as 15 boneless chicken wings steeped in one of four sauces ($7.95) or use garlic knots bedecked in spices to measure the movements of water-cruising entrees ($2.50/half dozen).
Everyday Organic’s culinary wizards seek out chemical-, hormone-, and preservative-free ingredients from local farms to healthify mealtime with an organic menu that features light and fast eats alongside hearty sandwiches and salads. Starters encourage pre-entree nibbling on roasted-veggie dip, which perches atop pita wedges like a proud, amorphous bird of prey. Grilled, marinated tofu tumbles over tabbouleh salad, whereas provolone, muenster, and baby-swiss cheeses melt in unison inside a gourmet grilled cheese. Guests can wash down big bites with gulps of milk massaged from mature soybeans.
At the restaurant, a small service counter welcomes guests inside the cozy eatery, where chalkboards announce daily specials and sage-colored tables hover over cherry-wood chairs. White and beige walls soak up the sunlight that pours through a large storefront window, where budding local vegetables can watch their future careers unfold.