A practical guide to the sweet spots of the midsouth
FEATURE | November 2014
Story by: L. Taylor Smith
Cupcakes have taken over the dessert scene in the past few years as bakeries experiment with new ingredients and create new twists on the go-to treat.These innovative cupcake connoisseurs each bring something new to the table.
Just off the railroad tracks in Hernando is Ladybugg Bakery, a cozy cottage with a well-stocked display case and a friendly atmosphere. While you try to decide on a cupcake, check out their collection of knick-knacks and soak in the down-home atmosphere. Of course, they’ve got the greats—chocolate and vanilla—but they also bring some international flair with Italian creme cake and Mexican chocolate.
Gigi’s got its start in Nashville back in 2008, and Gigi’s Cupcakes of Memphis is always adding new twists to the standard cupcake fare. This fall, they’ll have some of the sweetest seasonal treats this side of the Mississippi including spiced apple cider and hot cocoa. Famous for making cupcakes almost too pretty to eat, Gigi’s is perfect for those of us that know the icing is the best part.
Muddy’s is a Memphis-born bakery that makes it a point not to advertise, letting their from-scratch goods do the talking and they sure don’t shut up. “We work really, really hard to make high-quality treats using old fashioned, tried-and-true methods,” says Kat Gordon, owner of Muddy’s. “Customers may not know we use free range eggs and real butter or that we dedicate many hours a week to training, but they can taste and feel the difference it makes.” Their famous Prozac cupcakes are made from moist devil’s food cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.
AnneOlivia’s Cupcakes in Southaven are hard to miss. Each one is sprinkled with edible glitter, making these some of the glitziest sweets you’ll ever sink your teeth into. What started as a home-based cake business has become one of the hottest (and sparkliest) bakeries in the MidSouth.
YoLo maybe be known for their frozen yogurt, but this Memphis-based sweet stop is delving into the world of baked good with the addition of YoLo Bakes. Pick up a couple of their chocolate strawberry cupcakes topped with chocolate dipped strawberries for a romantic night in, or snag a dozen of their Oreo cupcakes drizzled with chocolate for a birthday surprise.
4709 Poplar Ave
Muddy's Bake Shop
5101 Sanderlin #114
1139 Holly Springs Rd
5627 Getwell Rd
559 Erin Dr
The Sweet Boutique
1076 Goodman Rd E
Sweltering heat sticks around longer than necessary below the Mason-Dixon line, and naturally we’ve learned to bring out the best in ice cream. Now it’s good whatever the weather, so whether you just need a sweet respite or to round out a meal, check out these dairy desserts.
Velvet Cream, better known as “The Dip,” has been in business since 1947 and family-owned and operated since the ’60s. This walk-up restaurant’s menu is always expanding and includes more than 200 different flavors with who knows how many possible combinations. “Everything in the dipping cabinet is hand done,” says Tommy Flinn, whose father purchased the little restaurant in 1962. “Our ice cream mix has a shelf life of two weeks, versus the 90-day shelf life of other places’ ice cream. You can taste the difference.”
Jerry’s may have been a hidden gem of Memphis once, but now the secret is out about this tucked away snow cone hut. Just make sure you get your snow cone supreme style, which combines soft serve ice cream with the syrupy goodness of a snow cone, meaning you get the best of both.
Though it doesn’t look it, Young Avenue Deli is home to one of the most Southern ice cream treats imaginable–a deep fried MoonPie served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. The warm crunchiness of the MoonPie, made in Chattanooga, contrasts beautifully with the creamy vanilla. It just goes to show that if you keep it simple, you can’t go wrong.
Bop’s Frozen Custard can be found all across the country, but the original Bop’s store still stands in Jackson, Mississippi. Unlike ice cream, custard contains egg yolks and the air is whipped out instead of whipped in. While they’ve got the house favorites like Bop’s Favorite–strawberries and chocolate flakes—you can also pick your own toppings for a completely customizable custard experience.
Holli’s Sweet Tooth in Oxford, Mississippi, has enough candy to rival Willy Wonka, but they’ve got the ice cream to go with it. “We live in a time—and town—where options are growing, especially with folks turning to online stores to buy goods,” says Holli Ratcliffe, owner. “That is why we want to offer more than just a product. We want to offer our customers an experience, a childhood memory or just a place to brighten their day.”
2290 Highway 51 South
Jerry's Sno Cone
1657 Wells Station Rd
Young Avenue Deli
2119 Young Ave
Bop's Frozen Custard
1173 E. County Line Rd
Holli's Sweet Tooth
400 S Lamar Blvd
There’s something extra special about pie from someone else’s kitchen. Maybe the crust is flakier, the filling is sweeter or maybe it’s just the fact that you don’t have to do the dishes. Even better is that there’s a pie for everyone’s tastes, whether fruit-filled or packed with chocolate.
The Pie Folks keep it straight and to the point with dishes that could only come from a delta kitchen. Their nationally award-winning 'Slap Yo Mama' chocolate pie is thick like Mississippi mud and as sweet as they come with a creamy white icing piped across the top. You’ll want to call ahead and reserve a whole tin because once you’ve had one slice, you’ll find room for seconds.
There’s some debate about whether cheesecake is cake or pie, but City Hall Cheesecake sets the record straight with thick slices of their fork-licking delicacy. “A lot of cheesecake is thick and crumbly, and ours is smooth with a lighter texture,” says Diane Bishop, who owns the restaurant with her husband Ronald. “The nice thing about cheesecake is that it’s richer, so you eat it slower and enjoy it more.” While they have set menu items like the chocolate caramel cheesecake with Snickers pieces on top, they also have special flavors like the pumpkin spice cheesecake, available only during the fall.
The smoky scent of barbecue clings to every inch of Cozy Corner in Uptown Memphis, but it’s their pies that keep diners coming again and again. Their sweet potato pie takes the simple recipe to extraordinary with a buttery crust and a smooth filling that’d put the family recipe to shame.
Country cooking may be hard to come by in some big cities, but Memphis isn’t one of them with places like The Cupboard around. A slice of their lemon icebox pie is a great way to round out a hearty meal or as a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of Downtown. Enjoy it after a hearty helping of their golden fried chicken for best results.
Who says you have to serve pie by the slice? At Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, their Humble Pie is a modern mini pie made fresh daily with seasonal fruits. “The original vision for the bakery was to create a community place for students, retirees and students,” says owner Cynthia Gerlach. “The Humble Pie is made with seasonal, local fruit, shortbread and streusel. It’s so simple but so good.”
The Pie Folks
7781 Farmington Blvd #103
City Hall Cheesecake
2465 Highway 51 South
114 North Main
745 N. Parkway
1400 Union Ave
923 Van Buren Ave
Doughnuts may have started out as a breakfast food, but it’s nigh impossible to keep something so delicious restricted to before noon. Glazed, covered in chocolate icing or coated in sprinkles, doughnuts are undeniably tasty any time, and these downhome doughnut shops have you covered.
Gibson’s Donuts is practically a historical landmark in Memphis. College students, night owls and tourists all know it’s the only place to be at 11 p.m. when it’s $1.40 for six doughnuts. It’s on first come, first serve basis, so make sure you pop in to see if they’ve still got a tray of their infamous maple bacon doughnuts or the classic chocolate glazed (with Tiger Blue sprinkles, naturally.)
Shipley Do-Nuts is based in Houston, but the Oxford storefront has a local charm that makes it easy to get comfortable. Owner Bobby Oliver says that although his shop is part of a franchise, he has the freedom to serve customers what they want. “Two years ago, I was in Destin, and when I went by The Donut Hole, there was a line out the door,” Oliver says. “People were buying these doughnuts that were filled with cream or chocolate completely coated in powdered sugar. We brought it back to Oxford and they’ve been great.” If you’ve got a crazy doughnut idea, make sure to stop by and share it.
Hernando Donuts may be hard to spot from the road, but once you’ve found the place, it’ll be even harder to drive by without stopping in for a quick snack. This locally owned shop is the go-to doughnut dispensary for Hernando, and their fluffy fried dough keeps everyone coming by for more.
Howard’s Donuts in Memphis rivals any of the big breakfast chains with friendly service, no matter how early you come in. Pop in to pick up a dozen for the office on the way to work or start your day off with a quiet cup of coffee and a freshly baked powdered doughnut. Either way, you’re welcome to sit and stay a spell at Howard’s.
Charlie’s Donuts in Olive Branch hasn’t been open as long as some of the other shops on this list, but they’re making their presence known with great customer service and the doughnuts to back it up. Their Bear Claws are as big as an actual bear’s paw and their Hawaiian delight, a pineapple fritter, has fresh pineapple pieces and shredded coconut.
760 Mt Moriah Rd
1750 Goodman Rd W #100
Horn Lake, MS
417 E. Commerce St
8130 Bellevue Pkwy
6781 Mississippi 305
Olive Branch, MS