With 45 locations, the aromas of hot soup and freshly baked bread greet customers across the nation as they approach Souper Salad's overflowing display of crisp salad greens and freshly prepared hot selections. Menus for the buffet change daily, but can include albóndigas soup, Tuna Skroodle pasta salad, A-MAIZE-ing cornbread, and other dishes. Dine-in guests are free to fill their bowls with their favorite soups and chilis, build their own salads from a plethora of crispy greens and tangy dressings, and see how much soft-serve ice cream they can pile atop a single cone. Patrons can also make a visit to the taco bar or flatbread pizza zone, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
Modeled on England's famed watering holes, Baker St. Pub & Grill greets visitors with a softly lit atmosphere, age-darkened wood, and ceilings adorned with anglophilic knickknacks. Classic Britannic drinks such as Guinness and Strongbow Cider flow from the bar's taps, joined by New Belgium, Fat Tire, and other American craft brews. Guests can pair their brew with something from the pub menu, featuring Welsh rarebit sandwiches, bangers and mash, and shepherd's pie. Fish and chips come in classic form, or potato crusted. Those looking to sink their teeth into homegrown specialties can order a juicy sirloin burger or spicy chicken wings.
Executive Chef Eric DiStefano draws culinary inspiration from Santa Fe, a city known for its love of Mexican food and its liberal use of red and green chile. His inventive tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas serenade palates with piquant spices and uncommon meats, such as monkfish, wild boar, and veal. The innovative chef also takes a Tex-Mex approach to American favorites, infusing burgers with hatch green chiles and showering meatloaf in spicy chorizo gravy. DiStefano’s housemade salsa charmed reporters of SideDish with its alluring blend of tomatillos and creamy avocado slices.
In Ocho’s dining hall, guests awaiting their meals recline on sleek red chairs as they nibble on warm tortilla chips. Above their heads, fellow diners chat in the upstairs lounge, where warm lights illuminate rows of cushy leather couches and deep-red walls speckled with modern artwork. Mixologists stationed behind the bar blend more than 50 different types of tequila into a variety of imaginative drinks, including a tequila and green-chile-powder concoction that was praised by reporters of Thrillist. Out on the balcony, visitors lounge on soft patio furniture beneath the open sky or an automatic retractable roof, which shields plates from rainy days and hungry weather balloons. A magic 8 ball at every patio table also helps diners answer questions like "Should I order another taco?"
The tradition of Sonny Bryan?s award-winning barbecue started more than a century ago on February 13, a date that would become circled on the calendar again and again throughout Bryan?s Barbecue history. February 13, 1910, marked the opening of Elias Bryan?s Oak Cliff restaurant, Bryan's Barbecue. Exactly 20 years later to the day, his eldest son, William ?Red? Jennings Bryan, launched his own restaurant. When February 13 rolled around again 28 years later, Elias? grandson, William "Sonny" Jennings Bryan Jr., and his wife, Joanne, opened another restaurant, the first Sonny Bryan?s Smokehouse.
Although a different Dallas family now manages multiple locations of the restaurant chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the legendary barbecue lives on. Sonny Bryan's original barbecue sauce spices up its savory pulled meats and ribs, which have been devoured by famous entertainers, sports legends, and A-list celebrities alike. Sonny's seasoned chefs also cater heaps of smoked brisket and jalape?o sausage to parties and events.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has been on the culinary radar since 1989, snapping up awards and publicity from Food Network, the Travel Channel?s Man V. Food Nation and 101 Tastiest Places to Chowdown, and Emeril Lagasse?s The Originals with Emeril. The modest joints have also earned some highbrow epicurean chops through a 2006 Zagat rating and a 2000 James Beard Foundation award for Culinary Excellence and Achievement.
A menu hangs over the window at Peggy Sue BBQ—though it's not meant to be ordered from. It's an homage to the eatery that called this building home for nearly 40 years before shuttering in the 1980s. When Marc and Susan Hall reopened the restaurant in 1989, they paid tribute to their predecessors by keeping their menu and retaining their midcentury decor, including red-and-white-checked table cloths. One of the first smokehouses to offer table service and a full bar selection, Peggy Sue quickly became the destination for barbecue fans who were interested in something more than a cafeteria experience.
Today, it's the real menu that attracts the most attention and their selection of fine meats that rarely run out. Oak-smoked brisket might be the most popular item on it, whether served with "lean" or "fatty" specifications, or as twice-smoked burnt ends, which are available as a special. Other specialty items include all-natural turkey breast and hand-trimmed ribs—all paired with made-from-scratch traditional barbecue side dishes or fresh and lightly steamed vegetables. A salad bar also lends to the classic dining experience.
Brackets, a hybrid sports bar and game emporium, serves jumbo wings and frosted beverages to patrons engaged in table games or busy watching one of Brackets' many high-definition sport-portals. Chefs batter menu items, such as onion rings ($4), with charm and breading and employ an authentic Neapolitan style to create the sopressata sausage pizza ($14). Though this Groupon can't be used on gaming, patrons can smack around airy spheres on two ping-pong tables ($10/hour for games), more substantial spheres on the pool table, or virtual spheres in Wii tennis.