From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers' cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.
Denae's Ice Cream & Sweet Shop winds the clock back to the 1950s in a shop with black-and-white checkered floors, candy-red chairs, and the throwback flavors of fresh, homemade ice cream and candies. In the cozy spot, waffle and pretzel cones cradle soft-serve and hard ice cream as well as sugar-free frozen yogurt. Chocolate-covered pretzels and other classic candies fill the display case, but Denae's signature candy is the covered apple. A twist on the autumn staple, Denae coats its apples with classic caramel as well as fudge, chocolate, and candy coconut.
Cherry's Ice Cream combines the old-fashioned idea of an ice-cream parlor with the modern technology of high-definition television and wireless Internet. Visitors can recline on couches and chairs around a TV, enjoying scoops of housemade ice cream in the company of friends or in the cold glow of their computer screens. Ice-cream flavors range from traditional vanilla to clever in-house creations, such as Rolos caramel delight and Circus Fun: vanilla ice cream blended with animal crackers and circus peanuts. In addition to hard and soft-serve ice cream, Cherry's confectionists serve up two-scoop belgian-waffle sundaes, water ice, and milkshakes.
If you visit his shop on a Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk, Tom B. Curyto, a proud torch bearer of Polish heritage, will generously give you a free sample of Polish Ice— but he will stubbornly shake his head if you ask him how he makes it. After all, it took him years to perfect the recipe¬. Holding degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Curyto approached his endeavor like a true scientist, spending hours and hours coming up with theories, hunching over vats of frozen concoctions in his kitchen, and tasting spoonful after spoonful until getting the signature custard-like texture just right.
Today, Tom's frozen treat has won over the palates of an abundance of media publications, and can be found in TLC Polish Water Ice shops throughout five states and two US-claimed moon craters. In cheerful storefronts and boardwalk stands, soft-serve machines freshly dole out the dairy-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free concoction in fruity flavors such as mango, green apple, and lemon. Servers also blend Polish Water Ice with ice cream to create creamy freezes, while adding candy to the mix to whip up cups of chillers.
From the outside, The Sprinkle Shack has the trappings of a traditional ice cream parlor, a humble building with striped awnings. Once inside, however, it's apparent that the menu is anything but simple. Twenty-four flavors of hard ice cream are crafted in store, along with sugar- and fat-free options. Twists of flavors such as strawberry and bubble gum paint colorful ribbons on vanilla soft serve. Ice cream melts into the square crevasses of hot waffles, or takes on a flavorful crunch with mixings of favorite candy toppings. For those with something to celebrate, they even make ice-cream cakes, whose piping can declare "Congratulations!", "Happy Birthday," or even "Sorry About That Whole Dumpster Incident."
To make the Fat Ortley burrito, chefs stuff a tortilla with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, ketchup, lettuce, and tomatoes. The eclectic burrito is the brainchild of self-proclaimed foodie Bruce Jones, who graduated from Rutgers University and brings his love of Tex-Mex fusion dishes to the masses at his eatery, Papa Grande Grille. There, chefs fill tacos with Corona-battered cod, and cook up their own jerk chicken. Other standouts include BangBang shimp burritos and a mango chicken quesadilla.