A whirlwind of utensils hovers over a sizzling grill under the ministrations of a deft hibachi chef, sending morsels of seared meat to diners seated around a crimson-hued circle of polished wood. Guests can request orders of teriyaki chicken, hibachi steak, or shrimp and watch the multitasking chef cook each meal to order while entertaining fellow diners and writing a grocery list to shop for after their shift. Vibrant, rustic murals and dioramas decorate the dining room, and lantern-style light fixtures cast a warm glow on tables and working fountain by the restaurant's entrance.
Gallo’s Pit BBQ lives by three words: “low and slow.” Though it doubles as a good tip for limbo, this phrase refers to a Southern-style barbecue method that begins by cooking meat languorously over a pit filled with lump charcoal and wood. Before meat meets flames, grillmasters rub each cut with their signature spice rub to create a flavorful crust that complements its tender insides. Finally, they slather on a tangy and balanced barbecue sauce, which they perfected with more than half a decade of tweaking and tasting.
After settling down in tall booths or long benches in the brick-lined dining room, guests devour platters of brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, and pieces of chicken. They can also stick their forks into sides of made-to-order coleslaw and baked beans studded with bacon, brown sugar, and Kentucky bourbon.
Ohio may be in the Midwest, but the menu at Windy City BBQ Ribs aims to transport diners to another part of the country. Chef and pitmaster Brandon Shy lives up to his slogan of “Put some south in your mouth!” with a heaping spread of southern-style barbecue, from smoked ribs and rotisserie chicken to Dixie sides such as and potato salad and collared greens. Guests can sign their name on the eatery’s Wall of Fame after enjoying a meal in the small indoor and outdoor seating areas. The meat emporium shuts down each day when the food is gone, so calling or sending up smoke signals in advance is recommended.
You can hear heels click-clicking in time with the music during each group lesson at Fred Astaire studio. The same wood floor here transforms into a gathering place for the school’s dancers when the studio hosts its regular dance parties. On those nights, students come to practice the moves they learned in class, be they social or ballroom dancers. Instructors also teach private dance classes so you can brush up on moves before a wedding or perform jury duty as a mime.
Montgomery Inn has seen a lot of famous faces over the years; Johnny Cash, Brittany Spears, Cameron Diaz, countless professional athletes, and every US president since Gerald Ford. The real stars, though, are the restaurant's award-winning ribs. Founders Ted and Matula Gregory started serving them in the late 1950s using Matula's homemade barbecue sauce. The ribs were an instant hit with diners and earned their first official accolades from the Cincinnati Post in 1968.
Years later, Montgomery Inn has expanded both its menu?specialties now include housemade Saratoga chips and barbecued spring chicken?and locations, but the ribs still steal the show. In recent years, they've been lauded by The Today Show, CNBC, and Fox News. The restaurant has even their own grocery line, so customers can enjoy their ribs and sauces at home.
According to a Columbus Alive article, Holy Smoke Barbecue owner Stan Riley is so dedicated to cooking his meats over freshly chopped wood that he has been known to haul tree trunks to the back of his restaurant and take an axe to them right there. He then puts the wood into his outside smokers. He told the magazine that the freshness of the wood was important because it determined the flavor of the smoked meats?the fresher the wood was, the more potent the flavor.
These flavorful meats include hand-carved brisket that has been in the smoker for more than 15 hours, St. Louis?style spare ribs, and smoked chicken. Signature sauces, such as spicy chipotle barbecue and sweet and smokey barbecue, finish them off. Customers can dine in a newly remodeled space complete with a full seating area and a bar.