As the name might suggest, Daddy's Kitchen is truly a family business. The restaurant recreates traditional meals with Southern-inspired soul food and dessert recipes plucked straight from grandma's cookbook. Although the specials change every day, heaping portions of beef short ribs, turkey wing and cornbread dressing, and fried catfish frequently play well with sides including macaroni and cheese, greens, and candied yams. Homemade desserts, including peach cobbler, banana pudding, and a rotating assortment of cakes, bring each meal to a sweet conclusion.
Pinkys pays homage to its Windy City location with a vintage tough-guy logo and a menu of Chicago-style polishes and gyros. Daily specials include classics such as catfish strips, a Maxwell Street-style polish, and barbecue-rib tips. Containers of croutons and thousand-island, blue-cheese, or creamy-ranch dressing sit on the side of meaty salads, ensuring that dishes get the partner of their choice, unlike most cops who live on the edge. Diners can round out their meals with a side of sauce or wash down each bite with a milk shake.
Don’t let the name fool you—Peking Tokyo has more on its menu than delicacies from its namesake city. That’s because the cooks draw from other culinary traditions as well, assembling a well-rounded lineup of pan-Asian cuisine. In addition to the Japanese staples of sushi, vegetable tempura, and hibachi-grilled morsels, cooks can prepare Chinese entrees such as fried rice and moo goo gai pan, as well as a selection of Thai dishes that includes pad Thai and curry shrimp.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments. In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Jack Gibbons Gardens has broiled and grilled its signature surf ‘n’ turf since 1922, building up a loyal fan base spanning generations of satiated stomachs. Amid flickering candles and stained-glass lampshades, waiters—many of whom have served the same tables for decades—ferry timeless classics such as oyster Rockefeller, 38-ounce porterhouse steaks, and baked tilapia. The sizeable dessert menu adds a sweet coda to every meal, and the wine list features myriad imported and domestic varietals from Californian chardonnay to merlot made from Italian grapes stomped by Hannibal's war elephants.
Markella's Gyros serves tender meat and poultry in multifarious forms, from its signature gyros to italian beef and a slew of Vienna hot dogs. The chefs pair their American eats with tasty portions of french fries and milk shakes, and the eatery's outdoor patio allows diners to take advantage of free water refills on rainy days.