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.
At Allegro il Gelato Naturale, two native Italians, one of whom is a graduate of Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, use old-world recipes to create fresh gelato daily. Their frozen treat is free of concentrates and artificial flavors, made instead from whole organic milk and natural stabilizers such as guar gum and hugs. These choice ingredients form both traditional and unusual flavors, including chocolate, custard, hazelnut, and mint ($3.50–$5 for a cup, $4.25–$5.75 for a cone). Allegro's treatmakers also prepare seasonal sorbets in flavors such as pear, apple, and kiwi, using only fresh fruit, real sugar, and mountain spring water. On colder days, sip a soothing hot chocolate ($2.50) or eye-opening espresso ($2).
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out ready-made treats, such as ice-cream cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
Rhino Pub welcomes ravenous revelers with a spacious, sports-centric atmosphere and an appetite-appeasing menu stocked with mouth-watering grub and energizing coffee drinks. Twenty-four beers on tap paired with the luminous glow of 12 TVs attract suds-loving sports fans, and Tuesday's karaoke and Thursday's live music lure a mix of singers, dancers, and the occasional lonely tambourinist. Customers can take an entertainment break and quell carnivorous yens with a bacon cheeseburger, served with a choice of fries or tots ($7.95), or replenish dance tanks with a 16 oz. cappuccino ($3.25). Rhino Pub's inviting atmosphere sports neon lounge lights, long black high-top tables, and free WiFi, making it the ideal place to flirt with a like-minded super-fan or exchange romantic emails with the cute laptop across the bar.
It was a fateful day that Campus Candy founder Mark Tarnofsky dropped his daughter off at Indiana University about four years ago. On a mission to track down a simple candy bar, the dutiful dad found himself roaming far afield until he finally landed at a distant drugstore. Convinced that college kids want candy within constant reach, Tarnofsky started his first store right there, and soon expanded to the schools in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Each outlet sells more than 500 different types of candy, all of which may be repurposed as toppings on a rotating menu of frozen yogurt. By slinging bulk candy at a fixed price, Campus Candy stores make it easy for college kids to load up on diverse desserts without filling their schedules with bonbon-making classes.