BGR The Burger Joint’s burgers start with high-quality ingredients—most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legendary Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries—from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries—be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.
Just More Barbecue, boasting a buffet-style menu, loads plates with prodigious piles of juicy meats fresh from the grates of a meticulous 14-hour smoking process. Challenge a plate's holding capacity with Just More Barbecue's all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet ($10.95), which provides diners the chance to choose any items save for baby-back ribs from the buffet line, including chopped pork, beef, and smoked spare ribs more tender than a newborn lullaby. Baby-back rib dinners ($10.95) slathered in savory homemade sauces test the structural integrity of dinnerware alongside a choice of three plate partners, such as baked beans and corn on the cob. Smaller platters ($7.95) cater to modest appetites and hold a choice of one meat and two sides dishes, and budding eating champions can kick off careers with a child's meal ($1.95), complete with a half serving of one meat, one side dish, and one imaginary encounter with an argumentative dinner roll.
Atop Scaly Mountain, eager outdoorsmen schedule playdates with nature, tapping into their wild sides during downhill-tubing and waterside trout-fishing excursions. Throughout the summer, Scaly Mountain's synthetic carpet-lined sides harbor adrenaline-filled tubers as they soar down the mountain. A mister system sprays cool water on heat-soaked riders while the lift hurries guests back up for their 39th go-around. Fish wranglers stock the on-site pond with rainbow trout twice a year, tempting anglers with the possibility of a multichromatic catch. Scaly Mountain’s outfitters prepare each angler for battle, kitting brave guests with the buckets, nets, and longswords needed to catch their foe. Angling experts clean and gut each vanquished fish, leaving fillets on ice for easy transport. Today’s Groupon includes up to 4 pounds of trout, which add fresh tastes to seafood feasts or authenticity to scale replicas of Scaly Mountain's trout.
Using local ingredients whenever possible, the chefs at Palmetto's Smokehouse and Oyster Bar smoke prime meats with flavorful rubs, carefully shuck oysters for fire grilling, and prepare other specialty dishes such as creole jambalaya, shrimp five ways, and fried green tomatoes. Customers can order oysters prepared four ways—raw, steamed, grilled, or fried—and dive into smoked meats such as brisket and pulled pork. As they eat with eco-friendly tableware and sip on sweet tea or wine, diners can admire digital artwork by local photographers.
At Smoke & Blue, diners pile plates high with buffet-style barbecue in a family-friendly setting. The cavernous wood-paneled dining area seats 300 people at long tables with checkerboard tablecloths, and the eatery welcomes buses, RVs, and large spaceships. On the weekends, family-oriented bluegrass, country, and rock bands take the stage as patrons dig into plates of smoked chicken, pulled pork, and spare ribs with sides of sweet-potato soufflé, creamy coleslaw, and collard greens.