From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft-serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Because Matilda's shares a menu with Mad-Macs, patrons have unfettered access to more than a dozen varieties of mac 'n cheese in addition to the bar's craft beers, wines, and cocktails. Reaffirming that this comfort food deserves a place in the adult diet, chefs recommend pairing the cajun-shrimp-and-crab mac with a glass of sauvignon blanc or the buffalo-chicken mac with a water balloon of pinot noir. The menu also showcases hand-patted burgers and hearty hot sandwiches, in addition to seafood entrees, steaks, and chicken. Live music and DJs keep things lively in the evenings, and karaoke nights provide the opportunity to flex vocal chords after prolonged vows of silence.
Marble floors and stone statues highlight the decor inside La Casa Pasta, but customers might be too entranced by the aromas of freshly baked bread and homemade sauces to notice the elegant space first. Chef and owner Giuseppe Martuscelli created a menu that pays homage to his hometown of Santa Maria Di Castellabate?near Salerno, Italy?with a mix of both Northern and Southern Italian culinary traditions. So as not to lose touch with his Italian roots and cooking inspirations, Giuseppe journeys back to Italy each year, returning with new recipes and ingredients. Throughout the week, the eatery also entices guests with brick-oven pizza and wine specials, along with happy hour each evening.
The fiery flavors at Santa Fe Mexican Grill send taste buds on an all-inclusive south-of-the-border vacation. A house specialty here is the molcajete, a bowl of lava rock filled with steak and chicken and heated to 150 degrees. Twenty-five ingredients go into its piping-hot pepper sauce, which can be soaked up by corn tortillas or poured onto medieval knights laying siege to your corner booth. Bartenders also mix margaritas and mojitos with fresh lime juice, and they concoct bloody marys and mimosas during Sunday brunches.
The kitchen at Home Grown Caf? is stocked with locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients whenever possible. That palate of fresh greens, house-made sauces, and Black Angus beef pairs with eclectic recipes, which have nabbed a slew of awards from Delaware Today, including Best Healthy Fare four of the last five years. Many plates, such as the pad thai with shrimp, can be converted into filling vegan meals with seitan. A full gluten-free menu provides options for patrons who have wheat sensitivities or recently had a tearful falling out with a gingerbread man. The chefs craft sandwiches with proteins including sirloin steak or tofu and toppings such as bacon and brie.
Beside supporting local farms, the cafe throws its support toward the arts, displaying a rotating cast of local craftspeople on the walls and hosting live music performances five nights a week, including Jazz sets on Sunday.
Within local favorite Matilda's Pub lies mad-macs, a comfort fare haven dedicated to the chefs' gooey mastery of mac 'n' cheese with a family-friendly vibe. Among rich espresso wood fixtures, overstuffed bench seats, and chalkboard walls covered in doodles, mac masters dish out decadent lobster mac with mascarpone cheese, philly cheesesteak mac, and Cajun shrimp and crab mac, among their many rich combinations. Around the eatery, abstract macaroni art tempts hungry eyes while kids are given supplies to craft their own masterpieces or a new set of edible parents before they go up on a special display wall. Behind the bar, bartenders mix adults-only milk shakes, and in the kitchen the chefs plate their culinary works of art as customers order fresh hand-formed burgers, Aussie-style crab cakes, and steaks.