At Sweet Taste of Italy, the secret’s not just in the sauce—although they have a specialty housemade red sauce—because everything is made from scratch each day. The chefs whip butter, grind cheese, bake fresh sweet Italian bread, and hand-slice meats to create Italian favorites with an American twist. Customers can dine in or take out heaping helpings of pasta and Toyota-sized pizzas, and catering services are also available.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
At Thai Cuisine, there isn't a smorgasbord of dishes from all across Asia. That's because Master Chef Fimon Song doesn't cook dishes he hasn't mastered. Instead, the menu is populated with carefully crafted Eastern Thai dishes that Fimon learned while training in Thailand. His signature dish is the duck laab, which features a slightly bitter and sour taste courtesy of the sauce's orchestration of lemongrass, cilantro, mint, and garlic. Most dishes rely upon fresh seafood, which chefs toss with aromatic sauces and herbs to create plates of curry crab and pineapple and tomato shrimp. Meals are paired with creamy glasses of Thai tea and bubble tea that's more fun to drink than a fire hydrant filled with chocolate milk.
An extension of the Thai and Indian cuisine cooking classes and Community Supported Agriculture programs of Ethnic Foods Co., Collage Global Cafe introduces tastebuds to new flavors and cultures with a smorgasbord of pizzas, soups, chicken dinners, and curries. Like Midwestern fall weather, the menu changes each day, with culinary designer Kavita Mehta selecting fresh produce from local markets to whip up dishes such as savory-sweet pad thai noodles, peppery Afghani eggplant, or whole-wheat pizzas topped with chicken satay and basil.
NOLA Bistro & Bar immerses patrons in the sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans. Inside the colorful dining room, diners devour alligator bites, blackened catfish, poboys, crawfish ?touff?e, and jambalaya. The Cajun favorites pair with hurricanes?a type of sweet rum cocktail that, along with colorful beads and people walking around with only one shoe, is a mainstay of the French Quarter. NOLA Bistro & Bar feels the most authentic on warm summer nights, when the patio's double doors stay open and live jazz music permeates the air.
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.