When Palermo’s Bakery opened nearly three decades ago, it was a small storefront affair. Husband and wife team, Joanne and Jerry Bruno, baked small-scale confections at first, but over the years, Jerry became adventurous, constructing elaborate designer cakes that grew more intricate over the years. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to those same creations, the small Italian bakery has grown into two custom cake shops with more than 50 staff members.
Still helmed by the Bruno family, Palermo's Bakery creates lavish wedding cakes bursting with fondant flowers, and specialty cakes sculpted into an array of improbable shapes, such as 3D champagne bottles. Though baked goods and pastries vary by location, they often include more than 20 flavors of cookies, Italian treats such as cannoli, and kosher desserts such as rugalech. All of the duo’s whimsical creations are available for pick-up or delivery.
At more than 2,600 stores in more than 30 countries, Dunkin' Donuts serves coffee and iced beverages, fresh-baked donuts and desserts, and savory breakfast sandwiches. Since Bill Rosenberg opened the first location in Quincy, MA, in 1950, the donut shop has blossomed into a one-stop coffee and breakfast restaurant familiar to millions of morning rushers and afternoon sippers.
Behind the counter of each location, glazed french crullers twist and curve like Parisian city streets, and Bavarian Kreme donuts are filled with a sweet, golden custard. A cavalcade of meats is available for piling onto breakfast sandwiches, such as sausage, cherrywood-smoked bacon, or ham enveloped with fluffy eggs and melty cheese between a choice of crisp crusts. Health-conscious risers can fuel strenuous bouts of lifting cars in the drive-thru line with a Wake-Up wrap, which offers options such as egg whites with turkey sausage or veggies that add up to as few as 150 calories. Both sweet and savory selections pair well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or a creamy, frozen Coolatta drink.
Though commuters can snag a quick pick-me-up within minutes, the wafting aromas of baking confections invite patrons to sit inside and embark on nostalgic reminiscences of syrup-coated playground slides. Beyond the bakery walls, the company aims for social responsibility with its support of community volunteer efforts and use of 100% fair-trade-certified espresso beans.
Wall Street Bath & Spa knows its market: when patrons enter, they see a mosaic that depicts a bull and a bear wrapped in a spa towel. Though the men and women's spa is inspired by Old-World bathhouses, modern touches such as this mosaic saturate the environs. Even the sauna selection pits the traditional against the contemporary: visitors can lounge in either a russian sauna that’s encased in 16 tons of rock or an infrared sauna that heats the body without affecting the surrounding air temperature. They can also work up a sweat in the eucalyptus steam room, which hosts body scrubs, Platza treatments, and bachelorette parties for koala bears. Once sufficiently heated, guests cool off in a 52-degree cold-plunge pool or a full-sized pool, whose softly illuminated waters glint off the blue tiles that line the bottom. A VIP lounge sequesters groups of up to 20 in a private space equipped with a jacuzzi, side-by-side massage tables, a plasma TV, and a pool table.
Like napping in a cotton-candy spinner, relaxing tends to work up an appetite, so the facility also has a juice bar and an on-site restaurant brimming with European fare and a selection of infused vodkas.
“There is something very French about getting a Nutella crepe to go from the sidewalk window—it's almost like Paris,” lauded the Wall Street Journal after sampling crepes crafted by Vive La Crepe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across three New York City locations, a team of skilled flippers pour silky batter onto crepe skillets, creating the base for a menu of sweet and savory creations, such as sugar and butter or spinach, mushrooms, and basil oozing with goat cheese harvested from Earth’s second, lesser-known, goat moon. Baristas pull shots of illy espresso to craft cappuccinos and other café drinks as diners linger in shops reminiscent of modern Parisian cafés, contentedly munching French fare or debating whether the Eiffel Tower is actually an illusion.
Vive La Crepe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers earn $10 worth of Vive la Crepe products for every $50 worth of Vive la Crepe receipts they scan.
Jerome Chang, the mastermind behind the much-lauded DessertTruck, gave his desserts a grounded home at Cathcart & Reddy, a café on the Lower East Side that sells many of the truck’s wares while expanding its purview. Run by Chang and two pastry chefs, all credited in their New York magazine listing as Le Cirque school alumni, the truck was nominated for two Vendy Awards and received heavy attention in a New York Times feature on dessert trucks for gourmet sweets that include chocolate bread pudding, vanilla crème brûlée, and french macaroons. The café also sells pressed sandwiches with mellifluous fillings such as goat cheese with caramelized almonds, thyme, and apricot jam, or domestic serrano ham with manchego, roasted garlic, and pine nuts.
When not slinging sweets behind the counter, staffers can be found in the kitchen, baking new batches of desserts or hosting workshops for aspiring chefs. Scheduled every few days throughout each month, the classes teach patrons kitchen secrets such as how to craft perfect soufflés and macaroons or gauge a cook’s feelings by the color of his chef’s hat.
Few desserts have the audacity to flaunt their nutritional information for the entire eating world to see. But the frozen yogurt at Berrywild does just that. Churned to two distinct consistencies–Berry Smooth or Kinda Icy–the frosty treat packs, at most, 125 calories per serving. And that’s just for Berry Smooth plain, Caribbean coffee, or banana yogurt; the Kinda Icy plain, green tea, and pomegranate flavors max out at 80 calories a pop. Capped with fresh mango, pineapple, or strawberries, the sweets almost reach the healthy snack status obtained briefly by ice cream in 19th century, before it was discovered to contain sugar.