The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original recipe, enticing customers’ eyes with a rainbow of colours. Once clients have made a flavour selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavour masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring handheld treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed half-litres, or in the capable hands of a catering team for sprucing up special events such as corporate get-togethers or school functions with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.
Gigi of Gigi's Cupcakes has been a self-starter since she was 15. That's when she began her first business?a cleaning company?because she "didn't want to work for anyone else." What began as a youthful whim blossomed into a business that, along with waiting tables and singing professionally, carried Gigi into her 30s.
Then, one day, her brother suggested making a career out of her baking hobby. That pastime had been born in her childhood, when Gigi often spent time with her mother and grandmother as they baked and bonded. So, amid seemingly insurmountable financial constraints, Gigi unveiled Gigi's Cupcakes in 2008 and, within weeks, had more than covered her bills. Today, the franchise boasts more than 100 locations in the 23 states that haven't outlawed dessert.
Each bakery crafts its cupcakes daily with fresh ingredients, and updates the menu according to day of the week and season. Traditional summer flavors such as Scarlett's Red Velvet, chocolate-chip-cookie dough, and Birthday Surprise have recently met their culinary match in new mini cheesecakes that masquerade as cupcakes to rebel against their conservative wedding-cake parents.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
In 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shoppe, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shoppe got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.
Jack of Hearts BBQ serves up savory barbecue cuisine made with love, smoke, and a kick of special homemade sauce. Peruse Jack of Hearts' menu for your preferred sauce-slathered selection, from the pulled-pork sandwich ($3.95) to a platter of tender ribs (half slab $11.99, full slab $21.99) that can cure any medium-to-large barbeque hankering. Nosh on the smoked turkey plate served with two stomach-stuffing sides, with options such as potato salad, killa' beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, and Simon's slaw (lunch $7.99, dinner $9.99). The family meals ($24.95–$26.95, feeds four to six people) and party packs ($49.95–$51.95, feeds 10–12 people) provide voracious hordes of friends and family with a hearty assortment of pulled pork or smoked turkey, pintsize sides, Jack of Hearts' special sauce, and enough buns to use as chips in a high-stakes game of Go Fish.
The folks at Simply Living Life really, really love food?and everything that goes into it. So they've made it their goal to share the best of it with others. At their quaint gourmet shop, the staff is ready to pack up food prepared in house with locally sourced ingredients for customers in need of full meals for their kitchen table. A handful of caf? tables also invite diners to sit down to enjoy the simply prepared yet flavorful meals. Menus change daily based on what's in season; offerings sometimes include classic chicken salad, peppered pork loin, and fresh-baked chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies.