A quartet of tatami welcomes guests into a traditional Japanese dining experience, replete with short-legged tables and floor mats to sit on. To help diners become one with the culturally distinctive surrounds, servers dispense and occasionally spoon-feed classic entrees that include broiled salmon covered in teriyaki sauce, korean barbecue ribs, and deep-fried chicken katsu. Patrons can also dine at American-style tables in the main dining room or sidle up to the sushi bar to ponder 20 nigiri and 21 specialty rolls with names such as Salmon Killer and I Love Shrimp.:m]]
Like the surgeons who assembled the Six Million Dollar Man, Fresh Grill's chefs combine the best aspects of the burger-making world: the speed and convenience of fast food with the quality, fresh ingredients of a sit-down restaurant. In the kitchen, these grill masters make everything to order with locally sourced ingredients that have been processed as little as possible—fire-grilling Angus burgers, flame-broiling chicken sandwiches, or frying up beer-battered fish. Guacamole-bacon cheeseburgers and sweet-thai-chili chicken sandwiches normally come nestled in cracked-wheat buns, but with waves of their magic spatulas, the cooks can transform them into gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps. They also whip up American classics such as grilled sirloin philly cheesesteaks, loaded with onions and cheese, and beer-battered cod. To complete each meal, the fryer crisps string, waffle, and sweet-potato fries, as well as housemade potato chips and onion rings.
Inside, amid the smoky scent of grilled beef, diners can wash down their eats with beer or glasses of red or white wine. They can also grab shakes with their choice of ice cream or fat-free frozen yogurt to enjoy on Fresh Grill's patio when the sun is shining and the clouds stop crying for a while.
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 Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
If you don't know what a piadina wrap is, here's a rundown: It's an Italian flatbread wrap, served from unpretentious stalls throughout Italy, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region. It's part of a long tradition, too. As a writer from Saveur notes, in as early as the nineteenth century, poets were writing homages to the wrap, praising its smoothness and its often-impressive size.
Nowadays, Americans can get in on the historic trend, and dig into custom piadina wrap of their own at Strada: Street Food of Italy. Stuffed with delicacies from sausage to fried rounds of calamari, the wraps come dressed up in customizable extras, too. Pesto or marinara sauces smother more than 25 toppings, including Mediterranean specialties such as white bean relish, black olives, and spicy arugula. There's gelato for dessert, too, rather than the original frosty Italian treat, frozen pizza.
People need energy to play, so meals at John's Incredible Pizza Company might start at a salad bar with 40 different veggies and toppings, before proceeding to an inventive selection of pizzas including barbecue chicken ranch, spicy peanut butter, and standards like pepperoni and cheese. There is also a build-your-own pasta bar and a dessert buffet with everything from fresh baked cinnamon rolls to soft-serve ice cream cones?all of it is meant to fuel a good time. That takes place on bumper cars and interactive super-bikes. Old school arcade enthusiasts can engage in classic Pac-Man battle while redemption tickets whir out of machines, granting winners access to a prize counter stocked with lava lamps and Nintendo and XBOX 360 consoles.
Functioning as a multifaceted operation, certainly the one thing The Wine Valet knows better than anything else is wine. Part event space, part tasting room, and part tour guide, The Wine Valet hosts one-of-a-kind events for up to 75 and offers tours with transportation that visit local wineries and vineyards. The staff welcomes patrons to sample varietals from different wineries before traveling to Artisanal Wine Cellars to sniff, sip, and listen to vinos. The Wine Valet is so immersed in the regional wine culture that they offer a free Android app for self-guided tours of more than 200 wineries.