When Kevin Brennan bought his first vinyl at the age of 7, he dreamed of a future that would somehow revolve around rock 'n' roll. Brennan's entrepreneurial spirit led him on a quest for the next "big thing" as an adult, and he dabbled in various ventures before having an epiphany while traveling in 1989. He was in San Diego, and he visited his first coffeehouse.
Kevin fell in love with the simple coffeehouse concept and had a feeling that gourmet coffee shops would soon become a craze across the nation. He instantly knew that he had found his calling, but it wasn't until he sipped coffee while watching an Asia concert that he knew what would set his establishment apart from the rest: rock 'n' roll.
Today, his trio of shops showcases the marriage of a laid-back coffee-shop vibe with rock music and memorabilia, creating a caffeinated love child in a Led Zeppelin onesie. Each location also features rock-inspired drinks, such as the Van Halen and the Dark Side of the Moo, joined by sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.
Brothers Dennis, Anthony, Jeffery and Tommy Moore, along with their father Harry, oversee operations at Little Jimmy's Italian Ices, a family-run business for more than 75 years. In keeping with tradition, today each of the business's 20 flavors is still made without fat, dairy products, high-fructose corn syrup, or the use of modern machinery. The Moore brothers' grandfather crafted the recipe, which they guard so closely that only two of them actually know it. Their customers are vendors across the country, as well as local patrons who procure pushcarts filled with Italian ice for their parties, fundraisers, and the food fights that determine town-council elections.
Every day, Breadsmith kneads and breeds made-from-scratch breads, honoring the practices of centuries-old French bakers. The delectable dough sculptures receive the royal treatment, with all delicate yeast bubbles bursting inside of a 6-ton stone-hearth oven. The oven's sweltering heat creates a cushy crust for American-style breads. In the presence of lightning-quick steam injections, European-style breads take on a crisp, crumb-dressed outer core. Daily bread offerings range from $3.95 to $8.50 a loaf and include French baguettes ($3.95), Russian rye ($5.95), sourdough ($5.25), raisin walnut ($6.95), and pepperoni bread ($8.50). Use today's Groupon to fill up the family with lusciously leavened loaves fresh from the oven—or wait for them to go stale and then wield them as harpoons during the next potato-soup hunt.
Inside Buttery Bake Shoppe, bakers spend their days crafting a range of homemade treats using only kosher ingredients. They create custom cakes, which they decorate for special occasions, or hearty loaves of bread that add a rustic feel to meals throughout the day. They are perhaps best known for their pastries and sweets, such as soft cookies straight from the oven or chocolate-covered brownies on a stick, which burst with rich flavors like a stock brokers' food fight.