Inspired by trips to the state's northwestern lakes, Okoboji Grill conjures the wayfaring spirit of summer vacation with hearty American comfort food. Chefs marinate chicken strips in beer before hand-breading them in a secret blend of spices, crown crispy onion strings with Iowa-raised pork chops, and stack thin-sliced meats into towering club sandwiches and edible replicas of the Chrysler Building. Okoboji Grill also culls recipes from international cuisines, adding an American take to greek gyros, housemade tzatziki sauce, and italian bruschetta and pastas.
The Alohana Hawaiian Grill revolves around the plate lunch, a staple of Hawaiian cuisine that consists of an entree, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a scoop of steamed rice. In the restaurant’s entrees, you can see the American and Asian influences that converge in Hawaiian cuisine: spam musubi, for instance, features a slice of grilled spam atop a block of rice and cinched with nori seaweed. In another dish, strips of deep-fried chicken come with bowls of katsu dipping sauce. Diners can also sample a variety of ramen-noodle bowls as well as piquant barbecued pork and beef dishes.
The chefs at China Moon Restaurant & Lounge aren't afraid of a little spice. Their love for pepper and zest is evident in many of their traditional Chinese dishes, from Szechuan-style chicken to Hunan-style scallops. But don't focus solely on these main courses; doing so means you may miss out on appetizers such as barbecued spare ribs, spicy chicken wings, and chopsticks served raw.
Smashburger's cooks grill each burger ($4.99 for the classic) on the menu to order in addition to crafting grilled and crispy chicken sandwiches ($5.99+), salads ($4.99–$6.99), and sides such as rosemary- and garlic-tossed fries ($1.99+). The Smashburger pairs 100% Angus beef with veggies and cheeses on an artisan bun, and Häagen-Dazs shakes ($3.99–$4.29) keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley. Add-ons such as applewood-smoked bacon ($1.50) or fried egg ($1) add additional zest to spicy baja burgers overflowing with chipotle mayo ($5.99+) or further personalize regional burgers unique to different cities and states.
The culinary fusionists at Yanni's Grill & Vineyards meld vivacious flavors of Greek and Italian cuisine in cozy rooms adorned with murals and sparkly white lights. Peruse a bilingual dinner menu, and untangle hunger pains over uncomplicated plates of buttery garlic knots ($3.95/10 pieces). Sip carafes of wine while servers engage in culinary pyrotechnics with flaming plates of signature saganaki ($5.95). Yanni's signature penne careens down throat canals, gliding along thanks to a tomato-cream sauce and accompanied by sidecars of sweet peas, mushrooms, and ham ($12.95). The chef's coastal lineup of fresh fish ($15.95–$17.95) tempts seafaring folks, who may jump back on shore at the sight of the signature steak Deburgo and its 10-ounce crown of beef medallions bejeweled in wine, mushroom, and basil sauce.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation?s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics?including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts?which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand?s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic?s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top-five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milkshake, and Best Drivethru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through its program [Limeades for Learning](http://www.sonicdrivein.com/About/Community, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.