Bill and Amy Wesolowski were no strangers to barbecue when they opened their restaurant. After all, they'd been grilling up mountainous platters of ribs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken at local parties and special events since 2008. Within their cheerful, sunlit joint, the seasoned caterers and skilled barbecue chefs whip up their signature dishes, along with southern-style sides of barbecue beans, collard greens, and coleslaw. The duo even accommodates vegetarians with meat-free menu selections, unlike other barbecue venues that require vegetarians to wear an itchy wreath of string beans around their necks. Plates pair with bottles of beer as they sit atop the white-cloth tables of the casual dining room, where colorful photographs and drawings of jazz instruments adorn the walls.
Proprietor Nick Kotrides’s open-kitchen concept offers Empire Grill patrons a low-flying bird’s-eye view of chefs plating hand-cut 12-ounce steaks and Cajun shrimp alfredo. Modern light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows keep the two-story diner bright and welcoming, and semicircle booths surround a stocked bar. Flat-screen high-definition televisions and free WiFi let patrons tweet their most up-to-date thoughts on big games and sated stomachs inhibiting their ability to digest the importance of big games.
Sunlight floods through rustic stained-glass windows onto the hardwood bar and tabletops of The Oakk Room's historic dining room, which was originally an automobile shop before it was converted to a pub in the late 1980s. Surrounded by walls laden with taxidermy pieces and an antique wooden horse trained to stand completely still, servers bring forth plates of jerk chicken and freshly baked cornbread, and bartenders shake up a menu of 17 different specialty cocktails. The restaurant slakes thirst on Wednesday with $4 martini specials and throws weekly Friday fish-frying events.
It should come as no surprise that pizza is a specialty at JUST PIZZA & Wing Co. The restaurant's cooks infuse specialty crusts with sesame seeds, lemon pepper, and other seasonings, pile on fresh cheese and toppings such as sirloin steak and tiger shrimp, and even bake whole-wheat and gluten-free pies. But contrary to its name, JUST PIZZA & Wing Co.'s menu doesn't end there—non-doughy options include chicken wings in a variety of sauces. Patrons can even explore possible wine pairings on JUST PIZZA & Wing Co.'s website.
At Wil’s BBQ Sauce Restaurant and Catering, pit master Wil Palmer slathers tender chicken, beef brisket, and pulled pork with his award-winning barbecue sauce. He plates succulent cuts of meat with classic comfort-food sides, such as fried okra and macaroni ‘n’ cheese. Diners can also pick up a bottle of mild or spicy barbecue sauce ($5+) for delicious at-home barbecuing or yacht christening.