Flamingo Road Nursery owner Jim Dezell is used to the surprise on people's faces when they come to the nursery for the first time. "People commonly come in and say, ?Wow, I never knew there was a garden center like this,?" he says. Maybe they're wowed by the park-like landscaping, complete with display gardens designed to inspire shoppers with ideas for plant combinations. Maybe they're blown away at the fountains, statues, and thousands of pieces of pottery. Or maybe they've just seen the pond surrounded by colorfully painted "shops" and palm trees. It's a "true experience" that's as much about shopping as it is about creating "memory and traditions", wrote Today's Garden Center in 2011, when it picked Flamingo Road Nursery as the most revolutionary garden center in the nation.
In addition to helping shoppers navigate the selection of flowers, trees, and other plants, the knowledgeable staff can also help them complete landscaping projects with outdoor artwork, waterfalls, and more. "It's professional advice here," says Jim. "We really try to understand our customers' needs and offer solutions that will both excite them and provide long-term enjoyment." He even recommends people bring in dimensions and photos of their space so the staff can get a better idea of what will grow well there. Flamingo Road Nursery offers delivery and complete installation services. Other garden-centric items, such as fountains and colorful adirondack furniture, give customers more chances to enjoy their outdoor living spaces.
The nursery also hosts an on-site Farmers Market shop, which hosts a large assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisan foods?some of the produce is even picked at the nursery itself. On the weekends, a beekeeper visits the store to explain how bees make honey to visiting kids, using the in-store observation beehive as a teaching tool. On Saturdays and Sundays, authentic southern BBQ including pulled pork, sausage, chicken, and ribs that have been slowly smoked for 5?10 hours are served under the giant tiki hut. The nursery holds seasonal celebrations as well, including an annual fall festival with pumpkin patch and a Christmas festival replete with sleigh rides, Santa visits, and a Christmas tree forest.
Hungry Howie’s grew into a nation-spanning franchise from a humble start in Taylor, Michigan in 1973, when founder Jim Hearn converted a hamburger stand into a pizzeria. With the help of business partner Steve Jackson––who started as a delivery man at the original location––the two men franchised a decade later and began expanding their delicious operation, resulting in nearly 600 locations spread across 24 states in the 3rd dimension alone. Almost 40 years after its start, Hungry Howie’s continues to earn the most attention for its specialty flavored crust pizzas––which infuse dough with a choice of eight seasonings such as ranch or garlic herb––as well as zesty pizza accompaniments such as oven-baked meatball and chicken parm subs.
If they're lucky, diners at Weston Sushi & Grill might see the restaurant's massive sushi boat, a handsome wooden vessel showcasing a dazzling array of ornate sushi rolls and colorful pieces of sashimi. The masterminds behind this splendid spread of seafood are the restaurant's sushi chefs, who extend their expertise towards dozens of traditional and imaginative rolls. While the sushi bar churns out fresh-fish creations, the kitchen sizzles up Japanese and Chinese specialties ranging from teriyaki ribs and scallops to bubbling pots of udon soup. There are stir-fried Chinese noodles and fiery Szechuan specialties—including spicy chicken and sizzling steak—as well as ice-cream desserts flavored like red bean, vanilla, and green tea.
Chef Esmeralda unites her proud Mediterranean heritage with American touches in each tapas dish her kitchen creates. Iberico Spanish-style cured ham, bruschettas, and fresh seafood—as well as larger entrees—give guests a taste of faraway cuisines as they enjoy their meals amid the trattoria’s wine-colored walls or on the patio. To complement these dishes, Esmeralda’s team of wine experts curates a menu of fine and rare champagnes and global varietals. Bartenders craft sweet sangria and margaritas, and on select nights, hookah smoke twirls upward, diffusing the soft light from the eatery’s crystalline chandeliers.
It's hard to say what draws people to Southern Swank Kitchen more?its upscale yet down-home southern dishes or its atmosphere, which Urban Daddy described as "a modern-day saloon." There's definitely a case to be made for both.
Patrons peer into the restaurant's partial open kitchen, watching the team create elevated versions of traditional southern food, including chicken and waffles drizzled in a marshmallow-sage sauce, pork chops marinated in sweet tea, and their famous beer can chicken that was profiled on Cooking Channel's Road Trip With G. Garvin. All of these innovative takes don't negate classic favorites, though; diners can also find faithful renditions of fried green tomatoes and St.-Louis-style ribs. No matter the dish, chefs add distinct flavors using time-tested preparations, taking time to brine, pickle, and smoke their ingredients.
This blend of artisanal taste and traditional know-how extends to Southern Swank Kitchen's sleek bar. House-made spiked teas and lemonades share coaster time with bourbons and whiskeys mingled with fresh fruit juices and or infused with smoke. Sixteen draft beers arrive at a precise 36 degrees thanks to the bar's nitro cooling system.
Even considering the food and drink, there's no doubt that the atmosphere has its own particular allure. Rough-cut woods and burlap placemats mimic dinners around the farm's cookfire, while high ceilings and street art murals add a touch of citified artistry. Portraits bleed beyond the boundaries of their frames, and cartoon characters mingle with realistic faces against a distressed and stenciled background. A dozen flatscreen televisions also have a home in the restaurant, frequently flickering to life with classic Westerns and the latest sports games. There's even a oversized photo booth and a chalkboard wall next to it where guests can hang their snapshots.
It's easy to forget that Apple started in a garage, and that the Virgin Group formed in an old church crypt in England. Following in the tradition of innovative enterprises with humble beginnings, PANNA Cafe Express started as a small cafe and bakery inside a Weston gas station in 2000. In an effort to introduce their local community to exotic Latin flavors, they decided to serve Venezuelan baked goods and foods alongside the traditional coffee shop fare.
That out-of-the-box decision paid off, making the meek cafe a hit with both native Floridians and Venezuelan transplants alike. In fact, it became so popular with South American guests that they began calling the small store by the nickname "la Pana," which Venezuelans use to mean "friend." Those good vibes from the community helped fuel the cafe to expand beyond its gas station trappings and into two other Florida locations, including one inside Marlins Park in Miami.
Today, staffers at PANNA Cafe Expresses whip up everything from American-style hot dogs and Italian subs to Latin-style salchi papas and arepas. Whether stuffing a breakfast pita with Boar's Head bacon or baking up Venezuelan empanadas filled with shredded beef, they use the highest quality, most authentic ingredients possible. To ensure this same level of craftsmanship across the board, they helm their own state-of-the-art production facility, where they prepare food and baked goods under a watchful eye. This USDA-monitored facility holds itself to the highest standards of sanitation and quality, safely meeting the demand for American and Latin treats at all three locations, as well as at supermarkets and chain stores all around the state.