As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Just Cakin’ It’s executive pastry chef, Jennifer Anderson, with the support of fellow cake designer and business partner Shelly Bakosh, dug deep into her creative consciousness to conjure up more than 100 cupcake varieties handcrafted out of dark Dutch-process cocoa, fresh fruit, and pure butter. The pastel-colored bakery's lineup of cupcakes serenade sweet teeth with five permanent flavors, including triple chocolate and red velvet, and nine funkier flavors that rotate every Tuesday. The talented bakers also personalize regular-size cakes for life's momentous occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and babies' first speeding ticket. Creamy milkshakes, frosty scoops of ice cream, and fresh-baked cookies round out the shop's saccharine selection.
The patty masters at Burger City send savory signals to taste receptors with a classic menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and steaks. The chipotle burger sears a third of a pound of beef to specification and uses a soft bun as a springboard for fried onion strings, smoked cheddar, bacon, and spicy chipotle sauce ($8.99), while the rib-eye steak sandwich tucks a slab of sizzling steak onto a garlic french roll, and comes with fries or potato salad ($13.99).
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's orchard orderlies kettle-dip tart granny smiths into handmade caramel to craft an array of candy-coated creations. Caramel apples range from classically simple to loaded with toppings, accommodating different degrees of decadence more tastefully than a pair of convertible mink pants. Available flavors will vary by day, but may include everything from the english toffee—with almonds, toffee pieces, and a drizzle of rich milk chocolate—to the apple pie, coated in a white confection, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
The locally owned and operated purveyor of icy treats provides a nutritious alternative to mean-spirited ice cream. On average, its extensive roster of frozen yogurts and sorbets ($0.39 per ounce) contains about 30 calories per ounce. Other nutritive benefits of Cultivé's fro-yos include the presence of live and active cultures, which have been shown to delight digestive tracts, encourage insecure immune systems, and help fight lactose intolerance with love, acceptance, and tempting jimmies.