I don’t know about you, but around here the summer heat really makes us crave sweets. So we set out to find some of the best places in and around Lexington to get that sugar high. Set aside your diet plans for a day and enjoy the sun and some special treats.
JoJo’s Ice Cream
We’ve been wanting to review JoJo’s since it opened, but unfortunately, perhaps because it is new, there isn’t much to it.
JoJo’s is located right next to Naples Italian Grille, and boasts 32 flavors of ice cream, smoothies, sundaes, and banana splits. But the ice cream they served was Hershey’s and Edy’s, and while I’m not expecting them to hand churn it in the back room, when I go out to eat ice cream I like something that doesn’t feel like something I can get in the grocery store. There was nothing really special about the ice cream, and even the large size seemed to be a pretty small portion.
The store was cute, with tables both inside and outside, and décor featuring Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, but it felt like a work in progress (oddly enough, the counter seems to have come out of a Subway restaurant, which doesn’t really fit into the image of an ice cream parlor).
It’s an ok place to spend a hot summer afternoon, but nothing too special. Here’s hoping that as they grow, they get even better.
Picture this: rows and rows upon rows of cupcakes, cookies, pastries, cream horns, cakes and any other sugar-coma-inducing treat you can imagine.
Is your diet screaming in protest yet?
Good. You can go ahead and consider the day’s calorie count shot when you walk into Fancy Pastry on Center Street. But it’ll be worth it, I promise.
Bob Nelson opened the dessert shop on West Second Avenue way back in 1969 (you can still see the rusted, ice-cream-cone-shaped sign on the corner of the building that now houses the Village Grill) and has been serving up a variety of homemade, handmade items ever since.
In 2003, the shop moved into its current location, which allows room enough for a few tables and chairs in addition to the display cases and hand-dipped ice cream bar.
“Everything here is made from old recipes,” said one of the nearly 20 sweet-makers employed by Fancy Pastry. “We make our own pie crusts, pie fillings and we hand-cut all our doughnuts. We don’t use machines for anything. We’re completely non-commercial.”
The Lexington icon, which is now owned by David and Tami Rothrock (daughter of Bob Nelson), is known throughout the city and beyond for its birthday and wedding cakes slathered in a sugary icing that will make your teeth hurt. It’s also known for its doughnut-holes.
The doughy balls are the cuttings from the centers of all the doughnuts made at the Fancy Pastry and you can buy them by the dozen. But don’t underestimate how many you’re going to want – best make it an even two dozen and be done with it.
And don’t leave without checking out the Reduced Items cart in the center of the store. I scored a bag of a dozen day-old yeast rolls for $1.55 (regular $2.09).
Whatever you’re craving, rest assured they’ll have it – and you can probably fill it with custard.
Heavenly Cheescakes by Becky
Heavenly Cheesecakes by Becky is located in a little white house on the edge of where Davidson County meets Forsyth County. Technically, it’s got a Winston-Salem address but it’s location on Old Highway 52 makes it feel like a quick stop in Midway. Once you find the little house, take a trip inside where owner Becky Brown works Monday thru Friday making the most delicious cheesecakes I’ve ever tried in North Carolina.
The flavors range from your traditional New York style to sweet potato and maple pumpkin. The store opened in April of 2004 after Becky took a trip to visit her mother-in-law in Savannah, GA. While there she discovered her mother-in-law’s old cheesecake recipe and decided to try re-creating the recipe. Becky says that her husband’s fond memories of his mother’s cheesecake really motivated her to start. After her husband opened his business in the little house, she decided to take the office space next to his and start working on this new business venture. I’m glad she did because Heavnly Cheesecakes is really a gem and my new favorite guilty pleasure.
Becky usually takes orders for her cheesecakes, which she sells in various sizes. You can buy petit four sized cakes by the dozen and go up in size from there. She sells a 5-inch “Baby Cake,” a 7-inch medium, and a 10-inch large cake. She tries to keep a variety of her sizes and flavors in house for when random visitors comes by. Becky says that people are always stopping by looking for a perfect gift to bring to dinners and lunches, or just a quick little snack.
We bought a few of her mini cheesecakes. They were the perfect size for a couple of bites and came wrapped-up like a little cupcake. We tried her peanut butter, red velvet, and key lime cheesecakes. All her cheesecakes are flourless, excpet for the red velvet, so when you bite in it’s very creamy and delicious.Becky also sells rum cakes.
If you are looking for a large order or a special flavor make sure to call ahead and place an order. I left promising that I’d come back. Once you’ve been to Heavenly Cheesecakes, you’ll be addicted.
-Cindia G. Leonard
We’re on vacation next week, but we’ll be back for the rest of August with reviews of Kerley’s, Smokey Joe’s, and a preview of all the amazing festivals on the way in September.