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.
The culinary craftsmen at Ole’s Tex-Mex Restaurant forge flavorful south-of-the-border fare from traditional family recipes. For brunch, the eatery slings egg quesadillas and huevos rancheros, a hearty amalgam of eggs and corn tortillas anointed with ranchero sauce. Chefs conjure specialty dinner dishes such as chilies rellenos, carne guisada, and shrimp burritos. The casual restaurant hosts happy hour daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., creating loyal customers infused with more joviality than a smiley-face convention.
The menu at Fat Daddy's showcases made-from-scratch items and 100% sirloin beef burgers. The eatery’s gastronomes slather their locally processed beef in homemade dips and sauces before sandwiching it between buns delivered daily from a local bakery. The Dragon burger ($8.29) lures in naive princesses with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, and green chilies, while the blue cheese bacon cheeseburger buries beef underneath blue cheese dip and fried onion straws ($8.29). The buffalo chicken sandwich ($7.99) teems with certified farm fresh poultry, while the Knife-N-Fork chili cheeseburger splays out a half-pound of meat on an upside-down bun and slathers it in cheddar cheese and diced onions ($8.29).
7 Salsas augments its menu of Mexican fare with a rotating septet of homemade salsas—one served daily—and the always-available Big Red, the restaurant's signature picante sauce. Diners pique piquant palates with an order of fresh guacamole prepared tableside ($8.79) or with other appetizers, such as chicken-and-bacon quesadillas ($9.25). Seafood offerings include two soft or crispy fish tacos, each stuffed with tilapia, cabbage, and chipotle-avocado dressing ($8.99), and two enchiladas del mar, bursting with plump shrimp, topped with ranchera sauce, and endorsed by Poseidon's private chef ($9.99). For border-straddling bites, delve into a Tex-Mex concoction such as the hearty Cha-Cha chimichanga, a giant flour tortilla extensively trained in syncopated dance styles and stuffed with rice and either chicken or beef, then crowned with chile con queso ($8.59).
The staff at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt rejects the oft-touted claim that Americans don’t care about nutrition. The problem, they say, has more to do with selection than anything else; most low-calorie sweets don’t hold a candle to a fudge brownie or a warm slice of apple pie. They kept this in mind when crafting their frozen-yogurt recipes, working tireless to develop a healthy—and equally delicious—alternative to the dessert status quo by turning to decadent confections and just-picked fruits for inspiration.
While most frozen fruit restaurants dump a bunch of pre-made liquid yogurt mix into the top of their machine, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt buys yogurt powder, milk, and other fresh ingredients, then mixes it all together themselves. Thus far, their process has yielded 16 frozen yogurt flavors, which take turns pumping through the self-serve machines that line their colorful shop’s wall. Before taking a seat in a bright orange chair, guests fill their cups with cool, low-fat coconut, strawberry, NSA vanilla, dairy-free orange, and pistachio. Juicy strawberries, crunchy granola, and gooey chocolate sauce headline a smorgasbord of at least 40 toppings ready to scooped or poured into cups before their final weigh-in.