When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—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 ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Beef ‘O’Brady’s grill masters load their menu up with hearty American fare, serving appetite-quelling dishes within a family-friendly Irish sports pub. A basket of traditional or boneless wings ($7.49 for 10) leads off the appetizer menu, digging its fried, crispy cleats into one of 11 sauces, from hot to teriyaki to a stew of pixie tears. The half-pound ‘O’Brady Burger emerges from a long hibernation in a cave of herbs and spices, carrying its blanket of melted provolone cheese ($7.99), and Beef ‘O’Brady’s signature sandwich, the Watterson ($8.99), commemorates one of its first customers with a roast-beef-and-rye portrait smiling from behind a swiss-cheese frame. The lunch menu items sate noontime cravings with soft tacos stuffed with fish ($5.99) and turkey and smoked bacon bench-pressing a soft brioche bun ($7.79).
Centerville Car Wash & Café's team of wash doctors turns muddy autos into sparkling chariots of cleanliness as customers lounge in comfort. The Works car wash cleanses auto exteriors and paints them with a clear-coat sealant to prevent damage to the paint job. To help to repel the water droplets from melting clouds, Rain-X is applied to glass surfaces, and Wheel Brite treats tires to a relaxing facial while the car's underbody receives a rust-inhibitor bath. The technicians also tend to interiors with similarly meticulous care, vacuuming, washing windows, dusting, and placing an air-freshener cherry on the auto sundae. While the scrubbing and buffing take place, car owners can wait in the café area, which features a flat-screen TV and couches.
Staff members at Tropical Smoothie Cafe whirl blenderfuls of healthy fruits into eclectic smoothies and transform fresh veggies into a full menu of salads and wraps. A mix of pineapple, orange, and nonfat yogurt imbues a Hawaiian Breeze with 24 ounces of sweet and tangy flavor ($4.29), and the Sunny Day smoothie ($4.29) blends a fusion of mangos, banana, orange, kiwi, and a poem about waterfalls. Patrons can also chase libations with savory wraps such as the Jamaican-style jerk chicken ($6.49), or the Totally Turkey ($6.49), a classic combination of turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, and a an affirmation written by Mom on a post-it.
Led by Russian ballroom adepts Vitaliy Kozhev and Irina Miller, the certified instructors at Golden City Ballroom get beginning hoofers' pulses pumping with social-dancing styles including American smooth, ballroom, and international Latin. Lessons held Monday–Friday at 6:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. introduce groups of 20–30 paired movers and shakers to the basics of styles such as the tango, the waltz, or the foxtrot before graduating to more sophisticated steps. During intermediate and advanced salsa classes, students face the challenge of swiveling their hips in six dimensions.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.