Drive-in movies. Car hops. Rock 'n' roll. Though human nature compels us to view the past in varying shades of gold, the 1950s almost transcends nostalgia. For those who were there, the smallest of triggers can set off waves of fond memories: a ringing bell leads the mind’s eye back to the polished counter of a soda fountain, and an oldies radio station evokes weekends spent passing quarters through the jukebox slot.
On September 11, 2001, in the midst of tragedy and after 19 years as a flight attendant, Brenda Stranberg decided that she was tired of playing back memories of America’s greatest decade in her head. Looking around her at a cultural landscape that her childhood self would hardly recognize, she teamed up with old friend Naif Makol Jr. and founded Skooter’s, an old-fashioned diner and coffee shop inspired by the simple pleasures of life more than half a century ago. Though somewhat of an anachronism, the diner’s open kitchen has proven wildly popular among the various generations that frequent the sit-down counter to sample thick milk shakes, loaded hot dogs, and burgers topped with fried onions. Between bites, guests can toss coins into the antique jukebox or admonish the diner’s soda jerks for callously dousing their friends with fountain drinks.
Since 1964, Blimpie has stacked and shuffled Jersey-style subs for on-the-go grabbers. The variety of items on its highly legible menu spans the savory spectrum, with hot, cold, and panini-grilled sandwich selections. Like the slangy biz terminology rappers give to their newest tracks, every made-to-order sandwich is sliced fresh. Wallet watchers can binge on a budget with a variety of $5 footlong subs, and pound pinchers can indulge sans guilt with The Lighter Stuff, the newest menu line from Blimpie, featuring six sandwiches with fewer than 400 calories and 6 grams of fat. Nostalgic noshers can opt for the classic Blimpie Best, piled high with ham, salami, capicola, prosciuttini, folded provolone, veggies, vinegar, oil, and oregano (6", $4.69). To give meal mittens a rest, guests raise their forks high for fresh picks such as the garden salad ($4.49) or the ultimate club salad, a complex arrangement of lettuce, slow-cured ham, oven-roasted turkey, swiss, smoked cheddar, bacon, and rogue tomatoes ($4.99). Other delectable edibles include cups of the day's finest soup ($2.49+) and complete kids’ meals for diners younger than 12 years old ($3.99).
The batter jockeys at the Sweet Spot Cupcakery and Bake Shop bake up six classic and seven premium flavors of butter-cream-frosted Lilliputian cakes. The classic confections range from chocolate on chocolate to a 10 Carrot creation whose chopped pecans and vanilla butter cream rest atop fluffy cake. Classic vanilla bean, red velvet, and marble cake also preen beneath fascinators of vanilla butter cream. For more lavish licks, premium cupcakes tempt taste buds with chunky pistachio frosting slathered on pistachio cake or rich chocolate cake capped with crushed-Oreo butter cream. Premium rum-raisin cakelets slur songs through their rum-flavored frosting, and neapolitan marble cupcakes maintain dignified poise beneath strawberry butter cream.
Granby Village Health's wellness gurus cultivate healthful glows as they guide customers through a maze of local produce, organic groceries, and trusted supplements. Juice baristas blend up local fruit to make organic smoothies such as Helena's Fruit Paradise, packed with a medley of berry flavors sweeter than a first kiss between pastry chefs ($5.99–$7.99). Jumpstart brains with a hearty breakfast of all-natural oatmeal ($1.69/lb.), available gluten-free, or a healthy bunch of bananas ($0.69/lb.). Cardio-pumps hum along as smoothly as a jazz band of velveteen rabbits as Nordic Naturals omega-3 fish-oil capsules bolster muscles with nourishing currents ($17.45).
Serving 100% fresh ground beef and hand-spun milkshakes, Jake's Wayback Burgers keeps the spirit of classic American diner fare on a culinary iron lung. The menu reads like Moby Dick had Moby Dick been written about all-beef patties, marinated chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and caesar salad. Golden fries, onion rings and house-made chips wing-man main attractions while hand-dipped ice cream or milkshakes, such as chocolate banana, coffee, and mint, are tasty post-meal temptations. Jake's Wayback Burgers stirs the menu pot with the Burger of the Month and Shake of the Month. Past monthly specials include the Turkey Dinner, a turkey burger topped with secret recipe stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce and a healthy dose of Norman Rockwell nostalgia, and the Thanksgiving-inspired pumpkin-pie shake.
To unpack everything 226 Jazz Art Java has to offer, it's easiest to work backwards through the name, starting with java. At 7 a.m. each day, baristas begin crafting organic, free-trade coffees into classic beverages such as cappuccinos and espressos. Gluten-free goodies like muffins, bagels, and cookies complement cups of joe in the morning, while entrees of salads and wraps appear around lunchtime. By day, patrons can enjoy these meals while taking in 226's surrounding art shows?panoplies of local paintings, photography, and mixed media that rotate monthly. The final part of the equation is live jazz, which transforms the space on two Saturday nights each month.