Five-0-three’s seasonal menu thrills mouths with dishes culled from local, sustainable ingredient sources. Taste regional flavor without licking an atlas with a charcuterie plate weighed down by sopressatta, salami, spicy coppa, cambozola cheese, and toast points ($13), or a plate of pomme frites with blue-cheese butter and red-wine gastrique. Signature entrees, such as a seafood-speckled paella with saffron rice and chorizo ($19) or a 36-hour braised short rib ($24) meet the appetite’s high standards of marathon marination. Tipple a glass of Wise Guy Sauvignon Blanc ($8) from the extensive wine list, or a bees knees cocktail stung with Tanqueray gin, clover, honey syrup, and lemon ($8).
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. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
A cupcake is a treat in itself, but K Squared Cupcake's Cookie Monster indulges sweet teeth even further. That's because childhood best friends Katie and Kriss top each chocolate-cake and cookie-dough buttercream confection with a fresh-baked cookie. The Cookie Monster is one of K Squared's many unorthodox flavors, which range from chai cupcakes dusted with cinnamon to blueberry-pancake cupcakes topped with maple-syrup buttercream.
The duo imbues its custom cakes with similar imaginative flair, shaping sweets like fluffy lambs or blooming flowers. Kriss and Katie even encourage customers to tap into their own creativity by personalizing cupcakes from more than 15 cake and frosting flavors, including s'mores and key-lime buttercream.