When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or honey walnut, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffee gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.
The sandwich-smiths at Subs & Grubs curb appetites with a hodgepodge of deli meats, breads, and toppings scribbled in neon chalk behind the counter. Dining duos can stuff sub rolls or get-well cards with copious layers of hot or cold meats, including pepperoni, homestyle roast beef, or oven-roasted turkey. Dry bites face drizzles of sauces such as blue cheese, traditional italian, and ranch, and guests can dip stacks into a steamy cup of homemade chicken-noodle soup or a crisp drink.
R Bar's menu delights burgerphiles with 16 burger varietals. All 14 burgers eligible for this deal begin with a 10-ounce helping of never-frozen chuck gently coaxed into patty form and are accompanied by a side of fries or a small house salad. Use your tongue to lasso a Rodeo burger smothered in chipotle sauce ($9.50), nosh on the zesty Cajun burger ($9.25), or sloppily devour the bruschetta burger along with its associated basil, garlic, tomatoes, and mozzarella ($8.75). The grilled-cheese burger enfolds a juicy, tomato-garnished patty in the embrace of two grilled-cheese sandwiches ($9.25), successfully joining two favorite fares without the mess the prototypical soup burger entailed. During pauses in the eating process, customers can distract themselves with R Bar's dartboards, games, jukebox, and HDTVs.
Sparing no detail, The Capital American Eatery and Lounge co-owner Chris Pratt selected each item that graces the interior, one by one. From the handmade chandelier to the local artwork that adorns the wall, the atmosphere is just the beginning. In the kitchen, chefs craft dishes from a menu composed largely of New York State ingredients, such as boards adorned with local cheeses, and cornish game hen crisped over the open flames of the Statue of Liberty. A selection of frequently changing beers includes pours from the likes of Brooklyn Brewery, Ithaca Beer, and Lake Placid Brewery.
For nearly a century, the chefs at Lombardo’s Restaurant have packed the dinner menu full of shrimp simmered in marinara, veal sautéed in butter, and chicken stuffed with cheese. Diners can convey their approval of such group appetizers as the tortellini alla panna—meat-filled pasta drenched in cream sauce alongside prosciutto and peas—by blinking eyes 99 times for yes and 100 times for no. The broiled rib-eye-steak pizzaiola swims in marinara sauce, peppers, and mushrooms, and the gamberi lombardo douses shrimp and chopped prosciutto in brandy. Bow-tied waiters deliver glasses of wine to tables dressed in white cloths, and a wood-top bar holds the restaurant's decades of Old World charm in an airtight jar next to the lemons.