When Shakespeare imagined a den of witches, he saw them gathered around boiling pots, cackling and talking, casting raw morsels into their cauldrons from the ends of long, sharp sticks. Time revealed his vision to belong to something far less sinister: the bard simply foresaw the fondue restaurant. Today, hundreds of people gather at The Melting Pot’s more than 140 North American locations to cast romantic spells over one another as they share sweets, breads, vegetables, and meats doused in liquid chocolate, melted cheese, or flavored oil. They all wield double-pronged spears—or fondue forks—to suspend the tasty morsels of their choice in the ambrosial liquids before them, which are cleverly heated by stovetops built into each and every table in The Melting Pot's restaurants. The chefs prepare most platters in sizes best shared by two, making the venue ideal for date nights or reunions with twins who left 10 years ago to study the art of fondue.
At The Melting Pot of Baton Rouge, staffers use the restaurant to invest in their community as well. They host charity events, school fundraisers, and even run a program to reward straight-A students with a free fondue dinner.
When Mike Kantrow founded his original sandwich shop in 1979, he thought the name Byron's looked too boring. So, as he explains on his restaurant's website, he scratched the s and added a z to the end, giving birth to both a local legend with the Big Byronz sandwich and a local controversy over how to pronounce "Byronz." "If you want clarification on how to say it," Mike explains, "don't ask me."
So while regulars may fight over phonetics, few argue over the flavors infused in Bistro Byronz's southern-styled bistro cuisine. Hearty entrees anchor both the lunch and dinner menus, inviting diners to dig into the roasted potatoes that flank a French-cut pork chop marinated in Abita root beer. Comfort dishes soothe the soul, such as tender pot roast that wades in creole gravy and the signature Byronz sandwich with three types of meat, cheeses, dressing, and black olives.
Though many fro-yo shops have sprung up in recent years, TCBY is no newcomer to the scene. Since 1981, its shops have been scooping, swirling, and topping their lower-fat treat in crunchy candy and fruity sprinkles—but that doesn't mean they've been coasting. They're still innovating, whether it's tweaking standby flavors or developing their signature honey-vanilla Greek frozen yogurt that dishes out protein and fiber without any fat. Fro-yo artisans blend up Beriyo smoothies in flavors such as mangolada and purely peach or infuse Shivers with a choice of sweet topping options. To celebrate a birthday or a jury-duty-selection-pool reunion, you can opt for frozen yogurt cakes and pies. The piece-accommodating treats are layered with frozen yogurt and rich toppings to forge flavors such as chocolate decadence and peanut-buttery fudge pie.
Cafe Delphi Greek and Lebanese Restaurant's proprietor, Mir Hassan, and expert chefs take taste buds on culinary tours of the cradle of humanity with an extensive menu of delicious Mediterranean delights. Paying homage to the ancient Greek tradition of filling up on breadsticks, appetizers prelude Near Eastern feastings with tantalizing dishes such as the fried-cheese or grilled-eggplant musaka. On main plates, Mediterranean samplers unite cabbage rolls, kibbeh, and a choice of chicken shawarma or gyros with meat tastefully dressed in a cape of grape leaves. In addition to tasty terrestrial meats, tongues swoon over sea specialties and vegetable entrees such as the Delphi?s fish topped with special pasta sauce and served with hummus and rice, or the vegetarian plate, a tasty m?lange of hummus, musaka, spinach pie, and feta salad.
Named for the ever-present loaves of bread that stood as religious offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem, The Table is Bread mingles Southern culinary and spiritual traditions in a spacious dining room. The menu brims with classic Southern specialties alongside Cajun-tinged seafood such as the signature Table La-La, a juicy catfish fillet fried or grilled and smothered in zesty crawfish étouffée. The centerpieces aren't the only flavors in the spotlight, however. "The candied yams were my favorite," writes Shermin Khan of Dig Baton Rouge. "Cooked with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon, [they were] neither too greasy nor overly sweet." Khan also expands upon the restaurant's spiritual focus, which draws weekly performances by gospel musicians and includes maintaining an alcohol-free atmosphere.
The family that founded China Garden Buffet did so with a passion for sharing Chinese home cooking with the community, and to that end they present an all-encompassing scope of Cantonese, Szechwan, Peking, and Hunan cuisines. With that wide spectrum of dishes on hand, the menu bulges with an expansive selection, tempting guests with simple, elegant choices such as roast pork lo mein, egg drop soup, and general tso's chicken glazed in a signature sauce with hot pepper. The chefs add a touch of showmanship to the newly renovated dining room by grilling up Mongolian barbecue dishes right before diners' two eyes, unlike the cooks at fast-food restaurants, who do everything behind a giant scoreboard often called a "menu." For convenience, the staff makes the buffet available during lunch and dinner for sit-down dining or carryout.