For more than 35 years, Maria's Mexican Pueblo has served up fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine made from fresh ingredients. Unlike Thanksgiving at a scientist’s house, they never use any chemicals when they craft specialties such as sizzling chicken, steak, or shrimp fajitas, or the hungry hombre plate, which mixes one burrito with one beef taco, one guacamole taco, and sides of refried beans and rice. They also serve up specials such as stacked nachos piled high with chicken, refried beans, and whole tomato slices.
When searching for The Low Down food truck, its best to keep your eyes peeled for its bright red exterior. Or, you can just follow the long line of people waiting for their chance to sink their teeth into one of the roaming restaurant’s Southern-style sammies. A rustic wood framed chalkboard hangs just beside the order window, announcing the day’s menu items, which could include a popular grilled cheese sandwich slathered with pumpkin seed pesto and stuffed with colby jack, provolone, and heirloom tomatoes. Thick slabs of bread hold together brown sugar bacon, lettuce, sliced heirloom tomatoes, and jalapeno pimento cheese in the B.L.P.T sandwich, while pulled pork, pickled okra, and red slaw nestle inside the barbecue sammie. While mouths are busy munching on the soulfull sustenance, eyes can feast upon the truck’s playful cartoon mural, which depicts a colorful picnic scene complete with a hamburger hot air balloon, a bear enjoying a campfire, and a secret 3-D menu that appears only to those who stare long enough.
The brainchild of two husband-and-wife teams, Mark and Jenny Henegan and executive chef John Daniel Schwalje and his wife Dara, The Asheville Public fills its rotating menu of gourmet gastropub fare with locally grown produce, grass-fed beef, and other quality ingredients. Six kinds of house-made sausage encase meats and seasonings from around the world, from the far-flung merquez sausage’s morroccan-spiced lamb and the boerewors’s south african-herbed beef to the jambalaya’s local mélange of marinated pork, all-natural chicken, crawfish, and chow-chow. Served alongside rich breakfast and brunch dishes or a la carte on an organic bun during dinner, sausages don house-made condiments and compete with organic greens and all-natural Angus beef burgers and steaks for stomach real estate. The Asheville Public’s low-key interior fosters a homey vibe with wooden tabletops, chandeliers crafted from empty bottles, and armchairs wearing sweatpants.
When Suzy Phillips and her Asheville Street Food Coalition convinced the city to change its 25-year-old ordinance against food trucks in 2011, she opened the door for an entire new industry. She also opened the door for her own business, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, an environment-loving food truck that doles out authentic Lebanese street food along the streets of Asheville.
Behind the wheel of Spartacus, a vintage step-up van, Suzy sets up shop at various spots around the city. She's no stranger to traveling, having moved to the United States from Beirut, Lebanon, when she was 16. Suzy channels her upbringing daily, drawing on a passion for cooking that derived from her mother to create Lebanese favorites, including falafel and shawarma. Forever conscious of the environment, Suzy and her staff utilize local and organic ingredients whenever possible, and her restaurant's oil is even converted into biofuel.
Since the first Fuddruckers opened its doors in 1980, the eatery has unabashedly proclaimed its signature sandwich to be the world's greatest hamburger. Thirty years and 140 franchised stores later lend some real weight to that claim. Using 100% USDA all-American premium cut beef, freshly baked buns, and a garden's worth of crispy vegetables on each burger, Fuddruckers has revolutionized the hamburger in North, Central, and South America. Their menu also includes a slew of specialty burgers that have undeniably shunned the beaten path, with beef substitutes that include buffalo burgers.
Waiting in the wings stands a supporting cast of American mainstays, including their hand-blended milkshake and the hot dogzilla, and families tuck into the classic drive-in delights alongside a host of arcade games and sports memorabilia as classic tunes play over loudspeakers.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop’s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.