Cranker's menu is immense; it lists everything from authentic Detroit-style Coney Island hot dogs like those on Travel Channel's Food Wars ($1.99) to burgers, salads, wraps, sandwiches, Greek specialties, Mexican dishes, and breakfast (served all day). For a dinner not quite broiled, not quite combroiled, request the broasted chicken, four pieces of marinated and lightly dusted chicken that's roasted and served with potatoes and coleslaw ($8.50). Devout carnivores can devour a cheeseburger ($3.89), Philly steak hoagie ($6.69), or meaty fusion of the chicken-fried steak ($7.89). Lovers of the Greek salad ($3.59–$7.99) can continue their Mediterranean food quality assurance tests on the Saganaki OPA, rich kasseri cheese flambéed in olive oil and served on fire ($4.99). For a fresh fish finale, try the Cranker's fish and chips, which are battered in a secret recipe ($7.69–$8.99) and fried in liquid gold and English aspirations.
The team at Hog Island Subs stuffs myriad meats and cheeses between fresh bread, creating classics such as BLTs and inventive food that includes a steak sub topped with hot sauce, jalapeños, and banana peppers. Their generous helpings of pork products—especially when thrown into the middle of the ocean—help Hog Island earn its name. Chefs put together subs such as the five-meat italian or the Three Little Pigs, a triad of pulled pork, imported ham, and smoky bacon topped with sun-dried tomatoes. They also bake flatbread pizzas in variations such as the Hog Island Flat, which is topped with cheese, bacon, ham, and pepperoni.
Because it's their eponymous dish, it might seem like the Burger 84 would be the natural thing to order. But there's only a very, very select few who can handle it. The monstrous creation piles four 8-ounce Angus beef patties beneath eight toppings of your choice, and is paired with a full pound of french fries. And those who can down it in 84 minutes or less are sufficiently rewarded: their photo is hung in the restaurant's wall of fame and they're sent home with a commemorative T-shirt.
For those who couldn't possibly tackle a meal that huge, there's regular-sized burgers customized with Angus-beef, black-bean, or turkey patties. Topping options include everything from jalapenos to homemade chili, and finished creations can be sandwiched between pretzel, kaiser, or whole-wheat buns. In addition to burgers, there's also hot dogs and cheddar-peppercorn brats.
The cylindrical cooks of All American Chili Dogs craft their menu of tubular fare with all-beef hot dogs, free-flowing chili, and mounds of free, plentiful toppings. Upon entering the ketchup-red and mustard-yellow-colored eatery, guests have free reign to decorate any dogs; try the bacon chili dog or the All American dog, which can be served plain, with chili, as a corn dog, or with a deep-fried copy of the Constitution. A pantheon of free toppings await placement on the bready seat of destiny, including pickles, sweet relish, and jalapeños. Regular-sized sides rush in to lend a savory hand, such as the deluxe nachos and bacon cheddar ranch fries. Instead of dumping a vat of glitter on your plate, give the meal some more color with a regular soft drink or a large malted milk shake.
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% 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 Häagen-Dazs 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 to 160 restaurants in five years, 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.
Voted Best Chef by the readers of Grand Rapids Magazine, Eric Chaitin, executive chef of all three restaurants, oversees an edible empire emphasizing creativity and customer service. Take your taste buds on a dream date to The Grille and ponder its sophisticated menu, which entices eaters with wood-fired pizzas, hearty pastas, and meaty marvels such as a Wagyu New York strip ($18.95). Rush Creek Bistro's menu slays cravings with an eclectic assortment of sandwiches and rib-sticking entrees, while the menu at FireRock Grille includes shrimp ($9.95) and steak ($15.95) that can be cooked on a 500-degree FireRock like those used by Stone Age tailgaters before the first Super Bowl. Each menu changes seasonally, accentuating locally grown, seasonal produce and fresh meats. All three locations feature scenic country-club views, outdoor dining, and bar areas for debating with strangers over which of the Founding Fathers had the nicest singing voice.
Next to the Fleetwood Bar & Grill is a portal to another world. Here, cold mountains of soft serve swirl toward the heavens and scoops of hand-dipped ice cream bathe in rivers of hot fudge and caramel. Known as the Fleetwood Ice Cream Parlor, this exotic land brims with custom frozen treats, which visitors build from more than a dozen toppings such as pecans, sprinkles, and cookie dough. A list of 24 specialty flavors whisks taste buds to tropical destinations with choices such as banana and coconut. In addition to sating sweet teeth with icy sweetness, low-fat frozen yogurt rattle spines with gleeful shivers, like a birthday gift from Dracula.:m]]