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 1,150 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, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
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. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
AJ Ghambari was born and raised in the Seattle coffee and food industry. His father owns the Cherry Street Coffee House and taught him how to make and sell quality food. One of its primary suppliers was Seattle Bagel Bakery, which would deliver kettle-boiled bagels to the coffeehouse every morning. When the bakery's owner told AJ he was not sure if it would survive, AJ knew he had to act. He learned the bagel-making process and slowly began taking over at Seattle Bagel, overseeing the process of kettle-boiling each bagel. He now manages the business as it expands into a dual retail and wholesale operation across the city.
Making each bagel from scratch, bakers mix the dough by hand using flour that was sustainably farmed and distributed by a co-op of local farmers. They then form the bagels, plump them, and leave them to mature overnight as the flavors settle, the bread thickens, and the yeast stops throwing temper tantrums. At 4 a.m. the next morning, they throw the bagels into a kettle of boiling water to crisp the crust and leave a rich, chewy interior. Finally, the bakers top the bagels with sesame seeds, cheese, or onions, bake them in shelf ovens, and deliver them to local retailers by 6:30 a.m. The early delivery comes just in time for the morning rush of customers scrambling for bagels flavored with olive oil and pesto, bacon and cheddar, or sweet orange and cranberry—all of which can be smothered with housemade cream cheese or dry-rubbed lox.
At ice cream dispensaries across the country, Ben & Jerry's staff members scoop up heavenly bites of Vermont's most famous treats. Whether gracing cups or cones, flavors including the banana-based Chunky Monkey and Phish Food—chocolate ice cream swirled with caramel, marshmallow, and fish-shaped pieces of fudge—bring chilly smiles to customers' faces. The shops have also added mango and lemon sorbets to their menu, as well as frozen greek yogurt.
Cold Stone Creamery's ice cream, which is made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its superpremium quality as it glides over taste buds. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as irish cream and butter pecan. Each serving generously welcomes dozens of mix-in toppings as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola, black licorice, and pieces from magnetic poetry sets ($2.50–$4.50 for ice cream with one mix-in). Indecision and premature brain freezes are averted by Cold Stone Creamery's chill artisans, who sling a litany of signature sundae creations ($4.50–$5.00), such as the Birthday Cake Remix, which spins two turntables of birthday-cake ice cream layered with tracks of brownies, fudge, and sprinkles. The Frankencream you desire will be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl.