The Loaf & Jug Restaurant was opened more than 35 years ago to serve the customer overflow from the nearby Proud Topover Restaurant. Serving fresh, deli style meals for the lunchtime rush has been their goal, and over the years the restaurant has gathered its own loyal following. Recently they moved to a new, more modern space to accommodate their growing clientele and this spot is also available for private parties and events.
When customers enter, the first thing they see is a large menu board and below that, a pastry chef tossing and pressing fresh piecrust. Once, they’ve torn their eyes away from that hypnotic sight, customers start their order by filling out a form for a sandwich or quiche, soup, and toppings. As the request goes down the line, staff members prepare dishes using the best quality ingredients available, including locally grown apples and sourdough bread from Boudine in San Francisco. Patrons move along the counter, keeping their eyes focused on their orders, and trying not to drool when looking at slices of banana crème and Door County cherry pie. Once meals are complete, patrons can take a seat by the two-sided fireplace that divides the dining room or–in the summer months–they can eat on the outdoor patio to enjoy a side of fresh oxygen with their meals.
Named after the early-morning first shift for crew aboard seafaring vessels, First Watch ensures chefs arrive at work with the rising sun, chopping fresh produce, baking muffins, and mixing french toast batter each day. As guests arrive, perky servers greet them with an entire pot of Sunrise Select coffee, as well as the morning paper and free WiFi. Since 1983, First Watch’s carpe-diem philosophy has spread to more than 100 locations across 13 states, pleasing crowds with thin, sweet crepes and fluffy whipped eggs, hash brown skillets, and enormous multigrain pancakes. Recently placed at the top of a Consumer Reports list of best family restaurants, First Watch takes the customer experience seriously. Chefs focus entirely on crafting nourishing sunrise feasts and midday meals, shunning afterthoughts of steaks and burgers for edible masterpieces of omelets, belgian waffles, homemade biscuits, and wholesome lunch salads and sandwiches.
Lauded in a review by the Journal-Sentinel, Vino Cappuccino invites guests to leisurely nosh on piping-hot pizzas, crispy flatbreads, fresh salads, and sip from the well-appointed menu of more than 100 wines. The California-, South American-, and Italian-heavy wine list lovingly embraces a few Wisconsin varietals, including the cheese-complementing Wollersheim white riesling ($7). Stomachs will persistently petition for the zucchini frites, long cuts of breaded zucchini served with marinara and garlic aioli ($5.99). Lunchtime loungers can snack on the roasted-beet salad, which mixes spring greens with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and white-wine vinaigrette ($12.99). Satiate cravings for mushrooms with the portobello sandwich, a ciabatta roll bloated with grilled portobello, provolone cheese, spinach, onions, tomato, and garlic aioli ($7.99). End your edible expedition with the decadent crème brûlée ($4.99) or a cheese plate served with crusty crostini ($8.99). Vino Cappuccino’s casual atmosphere makes it the ideal setting for a romantic dinner for two or for sipping an espresso and reading a book without interruption from chainsaw-wielding librarians.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company—now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of viscous-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Sluggo's, a friendly neighborhood sports bar in business for decades, serves up pub food favorites, mixed drinks, and pints of Spotted Cow and Lakefront Brewery beer. Cooks work from a menu of tacos, nachos, burgers, and–on Fridays–beer battered cod or perch. Sports games are broadcast on five televisions.
Each night at Tokyo Sushi & Grill Japanese Steakhouse, chefs fire up six hibachi grills and flip shrimp, scallops, and swordfish atop the sizzling iron griddles and directly in front of guests. In addition to the hibachi chefs' flashy knife work, the casual eatery showcases more subtle Japanese culinary traditions. At the sushi bar, experts gingerly roll up fresh seafood, and in the kitchen, chefs swathe shrimp in crispy tempura batter with the same level of care a NASA scientist takes when coating the Space Shuttle’s flameproof resin on the base of his cigar.