The staff at Treat Me Sweet must swear by the golden rule. They ask for sweet treatment with their business’s moniker, so, in return, they treat their customers to cakes, cupcakes, and truffles prepared either traditionally or free of gluten and dairy products. In more than 32 years of business, the staff has built a repertoire of cake flavors both classic and innovative, including red velvet, amaretto, and italian cream. They mix together fresh ingredients and bake cakes as close to a scheduled event as possible so they never have to store them in cryogenic freezers next to Walt Disney’s “welcome back to life” cake. For fancier confections, they drape fresh or porcelain-sugar flowers over icing or create art out of chocolate-dipped strawberries, nuts, and crystalized grapes.
Cupcake connoisseur Allison Beck began her baking career as a labor of love, whipping up batches of luscious single-serve cakes for friends and family. When fans of her pastry pastime began to swell beyond the ranks of friends and acquaintances, Allison knew it was time to go pro. She realized a long-held dream by opening Alli B’s Sweets & Treats, where today the aromas of toasty sugar and flour waft through the air as she bakes cupcakes and cookies fresh daily. Cupcake flavors range from white wedding to hot-fudge sundae, topped with sumptuous domes of frosting or fashioned into high-heeled shoes with the addition of a cookie heel. She also bakes custom cakes for birthdays, tax-filing days, and other celebrations.
Jon and Carmen Pei spent years traveling the globe, visiting caf?s from New York to Taiwan in search of the perfect rendition of their treasured childhood treat: bubble tea. After organizing all their recipes, tips, and ideas, the couple opened their own shop, where they whip up their own blend of innovative bubble teas, smoothies, and frozen hot chocolate.
Upon entering their colorful, brightly lit shop, guests are often greeted by Jon and Carmen themselves, who dole out free samples to first-timers, greet return customers by name, and tussle the toupees of visiting congressmen. The duo and their staff of baristas fold premium tea leaves and freshly cooked tapioca boba balls imported from Taiwan into fruity drinks. They also chop up fresh fruit for smoothies every day at the shop. Customers are invited to order from a menu of specialty drinks or choose from a variety of flavors, fruits, and mix-ins to design their own concoction. They can even add from a selection of more than 25 kinds of popping boba balls, which burst in the mouth with every sip. And during chilly winter months, the baristas pour hot bubble tea.
Guests sip on beverages and nibble on snacks?such as crunchy Pocky sticks?out among the tabletops of the lively seating area. Some play video games on wide-screen computers and televisions, whereas others engage in more traditional games such Connect Four or competitions to fit the most straws up their nostrils.
In 1961, J.B. Wilson founded his own barbecue eatery and populated the menu with recipes of his own design. These recipes remained unchanged throughout the years, as did his signature welcome—greeting customers in a top hat and cane. When he fell ill in 2004, he passed the business’s reins to his close friend Amos Adetula. Afraid that J.B’s recipes would otherwise be lost forever, Amos graciously agreed to lead the restaurant into the future. His legacy now secure, Mr. Wilson passed away three days later.
Today, Amos still makes all the original sauces for the restaurant's ribs, brisket, and pork himself, including the sweet sauce that adorns the restaurant’s signature baked beans. Savory dishes complement sweet-potato or buttermilk pies, which the staff makes by hand from scratch each day. A number of longneck brews stands at the ready to cool diners’ tongues in the wake of smoked meats, hot baked potatoes, and periodic fire-breathing competitions. Inside the original location on Apache, large plasma televisions adorn the exposed log cabin–style walls, hanging above booths bedecked in the original black and red checkered style. Outside the eatery's confines, breezy outdoor seating around an original built-in concrete fire pit encourages frequent fresh-air feasts. When lovers of Wilson's require the food to come to them, culinary crews transport the eatery’s fare with full offsite catering services for events such as tailgate parties, where staffers set up and break down after the meal.
The Benson and Brozgold families founded Ol’ South Pancake House in 1962 and have stacked mountains of the same griddle-kissed pancakes from the same menu ever since, sticking to original recipes with the addition of Southern diner favorites. Cooks pour fluffy disks of buttermilk-, buckwheat-, or corn-cake batter to forge the rich foundation for strata of sweet or fruity toppings, including spiced apples, peanut-butter chips, and strawberries. Like off-duty senators nestled safe for the night in the congressional warehouse, pancakes pile into short or tall stacks, or in a behemoth pile of eight for the diner’s Take the Pancake Challenge. Any intrepid eater capable of packing away the entire monument to fluffiness in 60 minutes gets the meal free.
In addition to pancakes, the menu features a familiar spread of hearty entrees and sides served all day long. The cooks hand-batter pieces of chicken-fried steak before glazing them with a layer of country-style gravy, or sear catfish and half-pound burger patties on the grill. For internationally inspired flavors, they can also whisk together huevos rancheros, griddle fresh crêpes, or prepare the german pancake filled with fresh lemon, powdered sugar, and whipped butter served with a side of maple syrup.
The culinary artists at Boopa's Bagel Deli achieve the alluring flavors of their New York-style water bagels through a unique daily process. The shop’s artisans first dip fresh, housemade dough in malt water to imbue it with a subtle sweetness and absolute fearlessness of sharks. They then festoon the dough with various ingredients to create bagels in a score of sweet and savory flavors, including the Boopa's Sweet Everything, studded with cinnamon, raisins, and nuts. 14 traditional cream cheeses serenade tasters with a peppering of scallions, sun-dried tomato, and apricot, while light cream cheese varieties pack in as much decadence and silky mouthfeel as their heavier counterparts.
Boopa's team also demonstrates inventiveness in their culinary repertoire with their original sausage rolls, which encase ground meat in a shell of bagel dough. The shop is so proud of its creation, that they host a birthday day party each year on the date of the sausage roll’s invention. Guests stopping in around the shop's 5:30 a.m. weekday opening time can catch the sunrise from a handful of patio tables, or admire the local artwork hanging on Boopa’s buttercream walls.