A science lab calls to mind test tubes, bubbling flasks of chemicals, maniacally laughing men in white coats—but rarely ice cream. But that's exactly where Curt Jones, chairman and founder of Dippin' Dots, came upon the inspiration for the tiny flash-frozen beads of ice cream. A microbiologist, Jones spearheaded the flash-freezing process of cryogenic encapsulation, a method capable of trapping flavor and freshness.
Beginning as a retail shop in Lexington, Kentucky, the ice cream quickly began to quell the tantrums of Fortune 500 CEOs all over the country. Having won numerous awards since he created a new way to enjoy an old treat, Jones stays true to Dippin' Dots’ roots, making the ice cream at the company headquarters in Paducah, Kentucky. New additions to the Dippin' Dots family include Dots ‘n Cream, a treat similar to traditional ice cream.
The Hop's hands-on owner, Dee Dee La Rue, can be found in the kitchen of her retro 1950s malt shop, whipping up classic American fare to feed Reno's nostalgia-starved diners. More than 45 flavors of KaleidoScoops ice cream take center stage as soda jerks blend malts and scoop out kosher, gluten-free, and no-sugar-added flavors that range from Birthday Cake to Candy Factory. Besides ice cream, the retro shop serves up classics such as hand-dipped corndogs and chicken strips, and specialty ice-cream cakes can be used to hilariously smother a clown’s hair fire. The décor, which was sourced directly from Dee Dee's garage according to KTVN, and the staff's old-fashioned uniforms celebrate nostalgia and 1950s malt-shop culture.
At locations in more than a dozen states, U-Swirl delivers more than 40 flavors of frozen yogurt packed with live and active cultures and designed in low-fat, non-fat, and sugar-free varieties. Self-serve machines line the shop?s lime green walls, ready for customers to dispense heaping swirls of old favorites, such as cookie & cream and fruit sorbet, or seasonal innovations, including eggnog in the winter and fireworks in the summer. Next, patrons head to the toppings bar and crown their frozen treats with as much fresh fruit, cereal, and candy as they can handle before weighing cups and paying by the ounce.
The scene is a classic American diner: uniformed waitresses walk past rows of booths, pausing to refill coffee mugs and set down towering stacks of pancakes. Large, sunlit booths provide parents and kids with a venue to converse or sign a treaty that finally ends bitter remote-control battles. Behind the service window, cooks bustle about the kitchen, whipping up generous portions of biscuits and gravy, three-egg omelets, and Mexican-inspired specialties—including chilaquiles, eggs with chorizo, and giant breakfast burritos. Come lunchtime, kitchen staffers turn their attention toward hearty burgers, hot specialty sandwiches, and chicken-fried steaks.
The baking buffs at Haven on Earth rely on hearth baking techniques and organic grains such as millet, flax, sorghum, and quinoa to prepare a spread of pastries, breads, meals, and desserts that are 100% gluten-free. The lengthy list of gluten-free goods, which are made in-house daily, includes everything from cakes and scones to waffles, each chemically tested to check for trace signs of gluten or gluten-leaning sympathies. With a menu of made-to-order sandwiches, pizza slices, and a rotating selection of hot entrees, Haven on Earth keeps diners flush with healthy alternatives for lunch.
Nunzio Donato Ciaraulo and his wife, Cristina, curate a menu of Old World dishes hailing all corner of Italy, from Venetian-style risotto to coils of tomato-kissed Neapolitan pastas. Though the offerings change regularly, diners can count on classics such as pizzas and pastas joined by a revolving assortment of roasted pork, tender veal, cooked-to-order steaks, and simmering seafood. Sweet teeth applaud louder than an ice-cream truck with subwoofers when they see the dessert menu, which lists traditional mealtime denouements including tiramisu, cannoli, and sorbets.