At Cheeburger Cheeburger, customers take the culinary reins, creating the blueprints for their own cooked-to-order burgers, fries, onion rings, and shakes. Diners start by choosing the size of their 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, from a quarter pound to a hefty 20 ounces, then choosing from a list of 11 types of cheese and over 30 toppings, which range from staples such as onions, salsa, and steak sauce, to the inventive, priming burgers with teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, and banana peppers. Customers may also opt for grilled chicken, salads, wraps, fried pickles and other items in lieu of burgers. French fries come loaded with toppings or naked as the day they fell from the tree, while 75 milk-shake flavors, such as piña colada, double chocolate, and mint chocolate chip, can be blended in myriad combinations. Several $4.99 options are also available on the kids menu.
Glass block surrounds the stainless-steel-backed counter at this '50s-era throwback-style diner. Images of mid-century celebrities surround chrome-trimmed tables and chairs, including James Dean, the Three Stooges, and Elvis doing a handstand on the back of his favorite horse.
H. Teller Archibald opened the doors of the first Fannie May Chocolates in 1920, delighting the passing palates of Chicago’s LaSalle Street with exquisite chocolates that continue to tickle taste buds today. Though nearly a century has passed, Fannie May’s alchemists still rely on the same recipes as the first store, refusing to budge on quality even when faced with shortages during war times and the never-ending Gregory Middle School food fight of 1997. Renowned for sweetness and attention to detail, the chocolatiers’ treats stand as an institution of inventive eats, from the gooey pecan and caramel of their Pixies to the sunny, toasted-coconut-encased dark chocolate of their Trinidads.
So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
The yogurt-minded staff members at Chill serve all-natural frozen yogurt that is mixed in small 10-gallon batches or less and delivered daily from a St. Louis dairy to ensure freshness. The active cultures, along with calcium, protein, and vitamins, blend together in low-fat flavors such as biscotti, dark chocolate, and red-velvet cake. Patrons fill their cups with the frozen treat, then crown their creations with a selection of fruity, salty, and sugary toppings.
After graduating from cake-decorating school in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Knodel immigrated to America and opened his own cakery in 1901. In the 109 years since then, his family members have inherited recipes for his signature baked delights and used them to continue delighting discerning St. Louis sweet teeth and winning acclaim from picky incisors far and wide. Knodel's cakes, which vary in price depending on design decadence, are available in flavors such as caramel fudge, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, and eternity. For handheld treats, there's a 1 lb. cookie box ($9.95) or individual decorated cookies ($0.65+). Cupcakes strut down tongue catwalks in a variety of edible outfits (individual cupcakes start at $0.80). Call no less than five days in advance for custom cakes.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.