For John Offerdahl, the aroma of meat sizzling on the grill stirs memories of his family's barbecues in rural Wisconsin. Even when John grew up and became a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, he couldn't escape that enticing smell?it would waft into the stadium from fans tailgating outside and the mascots who secretly stuffed their costumes with cheeseburgers. So it was only natural that, after retiring from football, John would once again find himself at the grill when he and his wife Lynn opened Offerdahl's Cafe Grill in 2000. The couple were no strangers to the restaurant business; they had previously owned a chain of bagel shops. This venture, however, would prove more ambitious?they devised menus of classic American cuisine that could be served up fast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a focus on fresh-grilled fare.
Today, Offerdahl's Cafe Grill has expanded to seven locations, but its flavorful, no-frills meals remain the same. "Johnny O's Famous Bagels" still take the starring roles during breakfast, waking diners up with flavors like cinnamon crumb, pumpernickel, and fruit-and-nut. But once breakfast turns to lunch and dinner, the grill takes over. Chefs swiftly cook up steak, chicken, and salmon, serving the proteins over rice, pasta, or salad with homemade dressings. They also grill chicken sandwiches and burgers, in a nod to the caf?'s backyard barbecue roots.
Packaged by the ounce, The Spice & Tea Exchange hand-mixes spices from around the world to create their unique blends and rubs. Banish blandness from any meal with a wide variety of spices (starting at $0.99 per ounce), more than 60 custom blends and rubs (starting at $4.89 per ounce), and a ton of salts, peppers, and chili powders (starting at $0.49 per ounce). Office workers can wean themselves off the teats of the break room's coffee-cow with dozens of loose-leaf teas ($4.89 per ounce) sweetened with more than 12 flavor-infused sugars ($4.89 per ounce), including blueberry sugar, spicy habanero sugar, and espresso sugar. The Spice & Tea Exchange's huge variety of flavors make it easy to fulfill long-held cooking fantasies, be it a robust hickory-flavored manticore or topping a freshly grilled cheeseburger with unicorn-radish.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company?s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320?420 calories each.
Mozart Cafe’s chefs draw culinary inspiration from modern Israeli cuisine, and the result is an eclectic mix of made-from-scratch kosher dishes ranging from pizza and salad to breakfast salmon platters. The Balkan pizza blends Israeli and Italian flavors with olives chunks of smoky eggplant sitting atop a bed of sauce, mozzarella, and feta cheese. Though the café is decidedly health-focused, plates arrive piled high with portions as generous as what you’d find in a neighborhood diner or your mom’s kitchen.
When owner Avi Sekerel envisioned Prosecco Cafe, its aesthetic evoked an Old World bistro as its menu reflected a progressive commitment to healthy, unprocessed foods. With granite-topped tables, leather chairs, and vibrant artwork, the café achieves its aesthetic aim and, thanks to a menu of healthy café salads and sandwiches, its desire for whole, wholesome food. Patrons enjoy entrees that have never been processed or fried, such as pistachio-crusted grouper embellished with mango salsa, tuscan omelets topped with pesto and brie, and bruschetta sandwiches on toasted garlic bread with Angus sirloin beef roasted in-house. Diners can take their meals at sleek indoor tables or sit outside on a sunny day to enjoy a crisp salad or toasted panini. A pastry chef constructs sweet endings to meals or food fights each day, such as red-velvet cake and summer fruit tarts.
Inside Town Center Mall sits Bonaccino Cafe, a handsome quick-serve counter with warm-brown accents that hint at the coffee brewing behind it. But it's not just beverages created here?another specialty is crepes, which customers can order in sweet or savory varieties. There's strawberry-banana and dulce de leche, but also philly cheesesteak and chicken with roast pepper. In addition to crepes, baristas prepare fresh salads and scoop gelato into bowls or impatient hands.