The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Assembling every order with fresh items baked throughout the day, Bagel Boy’s master doughsmiths supply a diverse array of breakfast foods and deli sandwiches. During the daily breakfast soiree, a roll plays host to eggs or egg whites ($2.75) while the guests of honor—bagels—mingle with a gallery of flavored cream cheeses, such as lox, vegetable, walnut, and strawberry. Pastry-chef Sherpas guide lemon-poppy and chocolate-chip adventurers to the tops of fresh muffins ($1.75) while a team of flavored croissants, including chocolate, cheese, and strawberry cheese, ($1.75 each) relays weather conditions and lends moral support.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,500 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the Pepperoni Pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs or slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including Frozen Lemonade Mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through local fundraising opportunities.
Since 1964, Blimpie has filled patrons' bellies with submarine-shaped sandwiches packed with freshly sliced meats and quality toppings. Each of the coast-to-coast franchise's locations offers an assortment of bread-based eats ranging from classic deli subs to paninis served between warm ciabatta buns festooned with grill stripes or uneven tan lines. Diners may alternatively embrace a wrap or gravitate toward the Lighter Stuff, a health-conscious selection of menu items with less than 400 calories and 6 grams of fat. Kids' meals satiate the appetites of youngsters 12 years old and younger, or adults who only eat box-based meals.
Most popular offering: Glass-bottled milk
Pro Tip: Create a standing order.
What sets your business apart from your competition?
I have no competition. I am the only glass-bottled milk service on Staten Island—the last of a dying breed. All our products are 100% natural and certified hormone-free. Other food companies like to fill your freezer with expensive plans. With us, you order what you want when you want—no minimums.
What was the inspiration for starting this business?
I wanted to own a route and have a product that would be a weekly repeat order. I was looking for something different that would make me stand out.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
I provide a service for people who are busy and want excellent, healthy products. Our milk is delivered the day that it is made—store-bought milk is not nearly as fresh. I am 100% dependable delivering on holidays and through all weather conditions. People have come to depend on me, and I make it my business to be there.
We set up a basic order, where the customer lets me know what products and amounts they go through on a weekly basis. They receive that standing order unless they change it. In addition to the milk, I carry a full line of dairy [goods], plus gourmet meats and seafood.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
I often get stopped on my route by people telling me that they can't believe a milkman is still around. They always have a great story to tell me about how they got delivery when they were younger. The little kids get a kick over bringing in the bottles—they often wait for me.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The hours I work afford me more family time. I am a people person, and I get to speak with all my customers. I like offering a service that carries with it a sense of nostalgia, while still offering a very solid product that people need and depend on.
At A'Tavola Ristorante, Chef George Fusco draws on his 20 years of experience to prepare a menu of elegant Italian entrees from scratch in an open kitchen. He and his kitchen staff top linguine with littleneck clams and fra-diavolo sauce and souse veal milanese in sherry vinaigrette and a balsamic-reduction sauce. For dessert, they whip up freshly filled cannolis, sugar-speckled crème brûlées, and new york–style cheesecakes, whose crusts are perpetually under construction.