Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top-five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milkshake, and Best Drivethru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through its program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Although Cathryn “Chef C” Matthes began life as an overweight child, she favored healthy cooking early in her culinary career. She turned toward nutritious foods and recipes, and eventually earned recognition from Southern Living magazine, SpaFinder magazine, and the New York Daily News for her healthful and delicious foods. Today, Chef C helms DelisheeeYo, adhering to her health-conscious mission while preparing light lunch fare and frozen yogurt.
DelisheeeYo’s frozen yogurt menu includes one flavor: tart original. Packed with probiotics, this low-fat and lower-sugar yogurt swirls into 3-, 5-, and 7-ounce cups or 10-gallon cowboy hats when no one’s looking. A toppings bar, packed with everything from fresh fruit to housemade chocolate-chipotle-cinnamon syrup, dresses up yogurt to each customer’s liking. The chef and staff hand-select organic apples, strawberries, and blueberries from local and organic sources when available, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup by importing all of their chocolates and caramels.
Though the yogurt is DelisheeeYo’s specialty, Chef C doesn’t stop there. Organic greens, peppers, garbanzo beans, and cheeses fill a vegan salad bar. Whole-wheat flour tortillas wrap themselves around nut butter, banana, and honey, or transform into a Trojan Horse to surround hummus and Greek olives. The chef helps customers wash down meals by concocting refreshing specialty drinks from ingredients such as organic Italian lemon juice and agave nectar.
Parmesan-encrusted snapper. Hand-battered fried shrimp. One and a half pounds of steamed snow-crab legs. The culinary team at Parrot Cove Seafood Grill and Bar crafts these succulent seafood dishes from fresh catches at their waterfront restaurant on Shelter Cover Harbor. Owner Jimmy’s love of French and southern cooking is reflected in the menu featuring dinner and dessert crepes, oyster po’ boys, pulled-pork sandwiches, and half racks of ribs with housemade slaw. Meals unfold in a dining room adorned with nautical decorations and more than 40 parrots, who take forms such as paintings, statuettes, and waiters. Parrot Cove also provides spacious outdoor seating, seasonal live entertainment from local artists, and, for kids, a chance to rummage through a treasure box if they clean their plates.
In 1999, the two brothers-in-law who founded Main Street Cafe & Pub aimed to create a down-to-earth neighborhood restaurant that evoked a sense of luxury with its menu of seafood and upscale pub food. Today, their restaurant hosts throngs of devoted locals, as well as shrewd tourists who can smell the all-you-can-eat crab legs.
The dining room's tall bay windows shine light onto a black-and-white checkerboard floor and tables groaning under a mix of casual pub eats and homestyle entrees. Distinctive dishes such as parmesan-encrusted grouper and a fried tilapia melt—complete with housemade jalapeño tartar sauce—balance out familiar blackened-chicken wraps and fish ’n’ chips. The seafood chowder and other housemade soups are prepared fresh daily.
Nestled in among the trees, sunshine, and ferns of Hilton Head, Nick's Steak and Seafood looks like a friendly local joint from the outside. A simple step through the door, however, teleports diners from the Lowcountry to pure Pittsburgh sports mania. Owner Josh and his wife, Katie, both love the Steel City teams, and they celebrate that love with apparel and memorabilia from the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates all over the walls. To fuel the fanaticism, their chefs dish up a menu of classic surf 'n' turf, which includes filet mignon, lobster tail, and ready-to-peel shrimp.