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.
Today, the company reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants. 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 at the Buffalo location, locally owned and operated by Jim and Virginia Materese, groups of foodies gather around tables to dunk warm hunks of bread in gooey cheese, delectable steaks and seafood in sizzling oil, and sweet fruits and desserts into chocolate swirled with peanut butter. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, splitting four-course meals that include cheese fondue, salad, entree, and dessert.
The time-tested Italian dishes populating Avezzano Ristorante’s menu span generations, having been passed down throughout the years, according to metroWNY. Prelude feasts with plates of jalapeño ravioli ($6.95), whose breaded-and-fried shells are drizzled in a rich red-pepper coulis. Sautéed with fresh mushrooms and herbs, succulent cuts of chicken ($14.95) or veal ($18.95) sail down tongues on the surging currents of a marsala-wine demi-glace. Sage-brown-butter sauce buoys pan-roasted cod filets ($18.95) sheathed in a thick almond crust designed to fend off oceanic predators and plastic silverware. Crown sated bellies with one of eight decadent meal closers, such as a pillowy cream puff ($4.95) or a slice of peanut-butter pie ($5.95).
Sakura serves a menu of japanese teriyaki and sushi such as the Crazy Dragon roll with shrimp tempura, which was showcased on NBC 2. Chefs also create Buffalo rolls out of fried spicy tuna and crab with asparagus, as well as a Cheektowaga roll, a crunchy creation topped with salmon, crab stick, white tuna, and spicy sauce.
Cheery yellow walls wrap around Sakura’s dining room, illuminated by sunlight that streams through the delicate grid that divides the windowpanes. Half a dozen chairs stand before the wooden sushi bar, which is decorated with a Japanese figurine, decorative dishes on the wall, and a lucky trident stolen from Aquaman's house.
The menu of old-fashioned fare, such as made-to-order subs atop just-baked bread, is as fresh as a caveman emerging from a block of ice. The café's long list of namesake sandwiches come in three sizes to accommodate munchers of every magnitude, ranging from classic turkey ($5.59 for a medium), tuna ($5.59 for a medium), and veggie ($4.49 for a medium) varieties to gussied-up grub such as meatballs in marinara with mozzarella ($5.99 for a medium). Those raised by a family of cured meats can reunite with a savory surrogate Godfather, which is piled high with genoa salami, capicola, and spicy ham ($5.99 for a medium).
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.