The cheerful family that birthed Guacamaya's prides itself on flavorful south-of-the-border fare that comes cooked to order. A favorite is the gargantuan El Zarape platter ($9.95), which sports a savory heap of broiled fajita meat, onions, and bell peppers draped with melted white cheese, rice, charro beans, and corn or flour tortillas. The tilapia fish tacos ($9.95) please the sea-slanted, and patrons harried by rigid taco and burrito algorithms may wish to try the pupusas ($7.99 for three), plump pancakes stuffed with a tasty cheese or pork center and served with smoky charro beans and any of the warm, zesty homemade salsas. Guacamaya’s gastronomic engineers prepare each item with tender care, and if they have the ingredients, they’ll whip up any plate your customizable heart desires. Thanks to a BYOB policy, you’re spared both the expense of drinks and the worry about a menu lacking bottled armadillo tears.
Though the entrees at The Dixie Cafe make the biggest splash across its menu marquee, they're threatened with gastronomical upstaging by the southern-style eatery's 19 sides and scratch-made gravies. The chicken-fried steak, for example, is a tender, hand-breaded fillet that fully blossoms with flavor only after chefs smother it with cream gravy and cheddar cheese. And the Cajun grilled catfish's down-home taste isn't fully developed until it is paired up with bites of turnip greens, fried okra, or a homemade roll. The classic platter meals take advantage of this by pairing an entree with two sides, rolls, and jalapeño cornbread and can be ordered "light" for a portion that's smaller than the regular size and easier to toss in the air and catch in your mouth.
Chef Geroy Rachel honed his skills at L'École culinaire in Memphis before opening Royal Flavors, a food truck specializing in smoky barbecued meats. Inside the mobile kitchen, he wraps bacon around chicken legs, flavors pork riblets with a dry rub, and smokes beef burgers to serve on butter buns with provolone cheese and pickles. Smoked cabbage salad or turnip greens with smoked pork round out meals, and slices of caramel cake or strawberry shortcake provide a sweet finish. Diners can take their food to go or eat beside the food truck, where picnic chairs surround a flat screen television.
A steady stream of servers constantly moves from the kitchen of Grand Pacific Buffet kitchen to the buffet serving station, where they replenish trays of sesame chicken, pepper steak, crispy egg rolls, and other Chinese cuisine classics. Diners can also load plates with assorted sushi rolls or, on certain occasions, unlimited helpings of succulent snow crab legs. Giant koi fish swim in an indoor pond, adding to the restaurant's Asian-inspired decor.
Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
Crafting each pop by hand, Suzy of Suzy’s Cutie Pops begins with moist, spongy cake in one of six flavors that she rolls in chocolate before drizzling on sprinkles or other decorations. Her fancy line of cake pops, often covered in colorful fondant, emerge in customized shapes, such as Sesame Street characters, animals, or artist renderings of feelings. Clustered together in clear wrapping and ribbons, pops are available by the dozen in cake flavors such as chocolate, spice cake, and confetti.