Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Every day since “Daddy Dave” Leatherby Sr. and his wife, Sally, opened the first Leatherby’s Family Creamery 30 years ago, the shop has been churning out fresh ice cream layered in sweet sauces straight from the candy kettle. Milk, cream, and sugar form the base of Leatherby’s more than 45 flavors, which range from staples such as chocolate and strawberry to more exotic varieties including mocha almond fudge and spumoni. Inspired by family recipes that date back a half-century, these frosty treats come in cones, shakes, malts, and sodas, as well as in heaping sundaes and banana splits, the largest of which tips the scales at 54 ounces. Leatherby’s menu has expanded over time, and includes savory options such as sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads.
At Hybrid Fitness, an 8,000-square-foot facility, Sean Tribble, a purple belt in Brazilian jujitsu, assists by teaching his grappling art. Personal trainer Amanda Staudinger rounds out clients' training regimens with a cardio cross-training class designed to get participants in fighting shape, with strong limbs, a powerful core, and hands replaced with bricks.
Hybrid fitness tones both adults and children, and its instructors often take their classes outside. Hybrid offers fun Zumba classes, which tone bodies to the beats of Latin music, as well as muay thai, brazilian jiujitsu, boxing, and fitness conditioning.
The chefs at DJ’s Grill and Deli know that some of the culinary world’s greatest triumphs have been sandwiched between two slices of bread. As such, they follow suit, stacking juicy, charbroiled burger patties, deli meats, and fresh veggies into burgers, sandwiches, and cheesy melts. To pump up the flavor, they top these handhelds with a variety of toppings, such as sweet teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple. They also serve up burger and corndog kids' meals to sate the pintsize appetites of children and retired astronauts looking to fit into their first spacesuits.
Formerly a cardroom where Sacramento's poker players regularly congregated to play a late-night game and talk about their crushes, the Phoenix Lounge has been reborn as a 5,000-square-foot sports bar, event center, and dart-throwing arena. Add a wall of flat-screen TVs, weekly trivia contests, and a regular lineup of standup comedians, and what remains is a spot to relax, laugh, and tip back a brew or two any night of the week.
At only one place can people find Bob Marley, Burt Reynolds, and Christopher Columbus on the same bill. Sundance Sandwich's staff has named all of its sandwiches, both hot and cold, after pop and historical icons. For the cold Christopher Columbus, they layer Italian salami and provolone on a fresh-baked french roll, before setting it to sail, while the Ann Margret, a roast beef dip, is served hot.