After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
On average, it takes one year to invent a sandwich that meets the standards of Jason's Deli—countless combinations of breads and filling won't ever leave the test kitchen. Those that do follow a strict set of rules: no artificial trans fat, no high-fructose corn syrup, and flavors that come from freshness rather than additives. The results can be bitten into at hundreds of locations across America. At each, difficult choices abound between reubens and spicy-ranchero chicken wraps, or between a turkey club and a New Orleans-inspired muffaletta, spread with a family-recipe olive mix. Even those who don't want a sandwich still have to make tough decisions when they approach the salad bar brimming with organic fixings.
Despite the difficulties of selection, Jason's Deli prioritizes convenience. Its stores have organized a list of gluten-sensitive selections as well as healthy kids' meals, which come with sides of organic carrots or apples as opposed to other restaurants' deep-fried lard balls. The company also advocates for emotional health as fervently as it does nutrition—its Leadership Institute hosts workshops for employees on topics ranging from conflict resolution to finances to ethics.
Behind the counter at Top That! Pizza, a colorful collection of more than 30 toppings, 10 cheeses, and 8 sauces await each pizza-lover’s creativity. They first pick from three crusts, including honey wheat, then choose sauces such as Thai peanut and basil pesto to adorn their personal-sized pies. Lastly, they select from locally sourced toppings such as marinated ribeye, Polish sausage, and applewood bacon, as well as regional cheeses including asiago and gorgonzola, before their creation is baked to a golden crisp in just three minutes. Customers can then sit down to enjoy their customized pie at the restaurant, or take it home. It’s the concept of combining choice, quality, and speed come to fruition that Top That’s creators envisioned years ago. Today, locations stretch across Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado, and menus make room for baked dishes such as chicken alfredo and meatball marinara.
Monsoon Restaurant's chefs remain faithful to the eatery's Indian roots by wholeheartedly embracing the country's traditional cooking techniques and by using fresh, preservative-free ingredients, with no artificial flavoring or food coloring in all of their dishes. Powered by open flames, the kitchen's tandoor oven can reach temperatures as high as 800 degrees?roughly the boiling point of liquid nitrogen?lending a distinctively smoky flavor to the roasted chicken, lamb, shrimp, fish, and naan flatbread. Encompassing a broad range of flavors, the selection of curries includes everything from a slightly sweet korma made with roasted coconut to a spicy vindaloo served with a cooling side of cucumber-yogurt sauce. The menu's vegetarian entrees are similarly diverse, including homemade paneer cheese as well as yellow lentils stewed in a fragrant combination of onions, garlic, ginger, and roasted cumin.
Before they bake over mesquite charcoal in a specially designed tandoor oven, the specialties at India?s Cuisine marinate in a mixture of garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices. Coupled together, the marinating and baking processes yield tasty kebobs and tender meats chockfull of classic Indian flavor. The remaining menu features nine specialties?from zesty curries to creamy saags?into which chefs stir chicken, lamb, fish, or shrimp. For vegetarians, the culinary team crafts more than 15 entrees, including house-made paneer smothered in tomato sauce and potatoes cooked with green peas and spices. To accompany meals, India?s Cuisine serves up favorites such as mango lassis and naan stuffed with three-cheese blends.
The chefs at Deelish just can't constrain themselves to one style of cuisine—their only passion is for speedy, delicious dishes. That’s why when it came time to create a menu, the result was an eclectic selection of sandwiches and salads that pull culinary influences from the Middle East, Caribbean, and American South. In the dining room or at the drive-thru window, servers dole out pulled-pork sandwiches, chicken-shawarma pitas, and pressed cuban sandwiches. To accompany sandwiches, diners can order classic soda-fountain treats such as root beer, strawberry soda, and ice-cream shakes straight out of the Cold War era, complete with built-in bomb shelters under the cups.