When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
From the ninth floor, sweeping views of Arlington?s entertainment district fill the windows at Cacharel Restaurant. Cacharel?s menus list an array of steaks and seafood entrees to accompany the panorama, which includes views of Rangers Ballpark, Cowboys Stadium, and acres of trees planted between them so the buildings would stop fighting. Pale earth tones and plenty of natural light decorate the space as the staff exits the kitchen bearing swordfish piccata and center-cut pork rib chops. At the other end of the restaurant, views of serpentine roller coasters glimmer in the twilight as the staff tempts diners with homemade desserts. The Grand Ballroom portrays the same picturesque scenery through its seventh-floor windows and can be rented for weddings, meetings, and other gerunds.
In 1996, the first Phil's Philly Grill introduced its signature hot sandwiches to Dallas from a single, modestly sized kitchen nestled into a bustling Metroplex. Because its founders brought decades of experience to the business, their sandwiches' of sauteed veggies and meats pleased anyone who got their hands on them. Soon, the concept steadily grew to occupy more than a half-dozen locations around Texas.
Today, sandwichsmiths at seven locations serve up everything from lena, certified rib-eye steaks?onions, peppers, cheese, and mushrooms included?to the Texas bacon barbecue burger, which understandably includes bacon, barbecue sauce, and a strange resemblance to the state of Texas. Phil's certified grill experts bring 40 hours of training to prepare chicken breasts marinated with 17-ingredients and hand chop fresh vegetables and cheeses. An array of Philly sandwiches, grilled salads, gyros plates, and wraps round out the menu. The ownership's commitment to hard work, passion, and fine meats have also spawned franchising opportunities for those looking to launch their own little bit of Phil's.
Fran Mathers was merely one of Via Reál’s loyal patrons when the eatery was still in its infancy in 1985. But when she discovered the owners’ plans to close, Fran didn’t hesitate to assume a new role: proprietor. To this day, Fran continues to serve her customers with the same sort of altruistic attitude that led her to fall in love with Via Reál. She does this by forming rapports with regulars and welcoming newcomers, and through the restaurant's scholarship program, which provides help to local kids of Irving police officers, in honor of Fran's late husband. Of course the number one draw to Via Reál remains its fare, crafted by Chef Jesus Olivares, who was born and raised in Mexico. His menu of southwestern and Mexican cuisine relies heavily, just like most cowboy perfumes, on smoked or roasted peppers and sauces infused with tropical fruits. For example, to make a dish called Cancun, he sautés Texas gulf shrimp with mango-basil sauce and pairs it with sea scallops over poblano rice, while center cut 8 oz. tenderloin fillets are served over grilled vegetables with tobacco onions, and guajillo port sauce. All of Chef Olivares’ quesadillas, fajitas, and other Tex-Mex dishes complement an impressive list of margaritas and tequilas, as well as a number of reserve wines, available by request.
When viewing the eatery's exterior, Éclair Bistro appears to be a small, conservative dwelling. But inside, the quaint dining room bustles with bright French-inspired cuisine crafted by chefs Aaron and Lynn—a mother and son team who curate the dynamic menu of old New Orleans dishes made in house from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Among them, classics such as imported escargot simmer in a rich herbed butter, and pan-roasted duck breast mingles with poached pears and roasted potatoes in a tart raspberry gastrique.
Dick Woodward found his family in the restaurant industry—literally. In the 1970s, he began managing restaurants throughout Texas and Georgia and eventually landed at The Hoffbrau, where he met his wife, Teril. By 1985, they were operating their own small chain of cafés in downtown Dallas, but their desire to return to Dick’s hometown of Cedar Hill led to a new plan. Soon they relocated there and opened Dick’s Uptown Cafe in 2009, filling plates with their return-trip-beckoning pancakes, philly cheesesteaks, and the whole mess, a breakfast hodgepodge of hash browns, onions, and a choice of breakfast meat capped with two cheesy eggs.
Dick and Teril recently expanded their menu to include dinner, lining up entrees as varied as pork tenderloin steeped in olive oil and build-your-own burgers. Patrons and owls curious about what mornings are all about are still always welcome to order from the all-day breakfast menu.