With its homey atmosphere and penchant for pub-style comfort food, The Living Room was already a destination for nights of relaxed revelry. With the opening of The Pub at The Living Room, that vibe just took on a decidedly English accent. Within this comfortable, no-frills pub, guests kick back the way they do in Merry England, munching on casual comfort food and knocking back pints of strong ales. If the rotating beer list is any indication, the owners here know a thing or two about brews; seasonal selection and year-round favorites from Founders, Blue Point, and Cigar City Brewing currently fill the tape lines.
Lucille's Bad to the Bone BBQ slathers on the delicious with its signature grilled dishes. Its roughshod renegade chili ($5.25) or luscious split pea soup with pulled pork ($4.25) will warm up the palate enough for it to take off its tear-away windbreaker, and the crispy chicken salad, with its buttermilk-battered chicken, crispy noodles, bacon, and honey barbecue dressing, will exercise crunch muscles ($10.99). The best of both worlds, combining half a rack of baby back with half a rack of St. Louis–style ribs, will coat taste buds in its toothsome sauciness ($19.99), and the variety of blackened, grilled, or fried fish will transport the sea's savoriness to local stomachs ($13.99+). Barbecue buffs who like to protect their fingers from an onslaught of sauce with shields of wheat can chomp on the buffalo chicken wrap with blue cheese ($8.99), the mahi Reuben ($9.99), or the barbecue sandwich in one of three ways: pulled pork, beef brisket, or pulled chicken ($8.99).
Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an all-day empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked dutch baby pancakes, and granny-smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and coffee blended specially to match the Original Pancake House's menu and upholstery. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with perks such as color-in place mats and kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot?in fact, it stays open for at least two meals a day, or six if you follow most doctors' advice to take a small pancake break every few hours. The savory side of the menu holds sandwiches piled with thick-cut meats, caesar salads, and savory crepes stuffed with cheese and veggies.
Though encompassing a range of flavors, every meal at Guarapo's Cuban Cuisine shares one thing in common: its cooks' meat-searing talents. When it comes to crafting pork, for instance, the culinary team roasts every marinated cut for hours before grilling it with saut?ed onions. The eatery's other protein-packed dishes don't take as long to make, though they sport just as much flavor. Green plantains arrive stuffed with ground beef, creole sauce spices up fried chicken filets, and chimichurri sauce accompanies skirt steaks marinated in blends of traditional Cuban spices. Each hearty feast unfolds within one of Guarapo's comfy booths, which are surrounded by murals of verdant fields and mountain vistas.
As the name implies, Ground and Pound MMA Themed Restaurants combines ground beef with televised smackdowns. A 106-inch high-definition screen and plasma TVs blasting classic mixed martial arts and UFC matches surround diners who chow down on American classics divvied up on a fighting-themed menu. Main Events include The Beast, a 20-ounce porterhouse, and The Dominator—bacon-wrapped filet mignon served with shrimp skewers. In keeping with the theme, the bar is partially caged with wire, and memorabilia such as photos and framed sweat droplets cover the walls.
"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.