3 Vines coats thirsty throats with a selection of seasonal wines and fresh, all-natural cuisine. Start by sipping on or dousing eyebrow fires with any of more than 40 by-the-glass-or-flight and more than 100 by-the-bottle wines, including the Maryhill chardonnay (flight $4, glass $8, bottle $30), the Michel Lynch merlot (flight $3, glass $7, bottle $28), or the sparkling Flor prosecco (flight $5, glass $11, bottle $36). Conversational nibblers can nosh their choice of delicious small plates such as the cheese-and-meat slate ($16), an all-star cast of artisan cheeses and meats, or the lamb lollichops ($12), designed for prime plunging into cumberland sauce and placating wolves after doctor visits. An array of soups ($4+) and salads ($8+) complements entrees such as the beef, seafood, and poultry du jour (market price), and a multitude of martinis and cocktails help patrons unwind after a day of playing hopscotch on a highway.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
The chefs at Maxwell's Hot Dogs sling dogs, burgers, and polish sausages into buns to create a sprawling menu of enticing options. Inside the eatery, guests lounge around classic checkered tablecloths, gazing at flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports. Meanwhile, an outdoor patio bedecked with lampposts caters to those who want to feel the wind in their fries as they dine on chicken sandwiches, pastas, or salads seated at tables with shade-summoning umbrellas.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
A new take on the old salad bar, Diced Fresh’s produce cornucopia allows customers to create their own salads from more than 50 fresh toppings and 22 regular, low-fat, and fat-free dressings. Customers outline every detail of their salad on the streamlined order sheets, ticking off a host of fixings, such as feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken, or signifying everything they don’t want with crudely drawn frowny faces. The behind-the-counter staff takes over from there to swiftly assemble the completely customized meal, optionally pairing it with a bowl of lobster bisque or nonfat vegetable chili. Indecisive eaters can simplify the decision-making process by ordering one of 18 predesigned salads, such as turkey cobb or fajita chicken, which can alternatively be turned into a wrap.
The cooks at Reese’s Restaurant have manned the griddle for more than two decades, firing up hearty diner fare for servers to whisk to the eatery’s homey dining room during lunch and dinner. When whipping up designer skillets and omelets, the grill masters pepper customer-picked meats such as seasoned chicken, bratwurst, or corned-beef hash with one of seven cheeses, and gardens of crisp vegetables, including fresh spinach, mushrooms, and jalapeños. Kids can request that their pancakes be poured into the shapes of their favorite characters, whether they are silhouettes of Mickey Mouse’s head or Captain Ahab’s peg leg. For lunch, diners can silence midday tummy quakes with the thin roast beef and au jus of Big Dippers or heaping tossed salads.