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.
Chicken Kitchen's savory menu stuffs succulent bird alongside healthy salads and fresh sides. Try the famed deluxe Chop-Chop with yellow rice, diced tomatoes, lettuce, and freshly chopped breast meat ($5.99 for a small, $8.99 for large). Non-carnivorous eaters can opt for a vegetarian Chop-Chop, stocked with all the fixings minus the meat ($4.99 for a small, $8.99 for large). Chicken Kitchen also serves its original grilled chicken breast and a wing on a quarter white platter with a single side ($4.99) or as part of a two-side meal ($6.99) with fresh-faced partners in crime such as balsamic tomatoes, seasonal veggies, baked plantains, and more available.
Unlike jerk-chicken pudding or fried-tuna Twinkies, ice cream makes for a delectable dessert that properly caps off any meal. At Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery, patrons can sample a huge menu of ice cream and other treats that are sure to slap a smile on any face and massage taste buds with sugary strokes. Try ice cream in flavor combinations such as Strawberry Skateboard with sprinkles, gummy bears, and marshmallows, or Cotton Candy Ski Jump with M&Ms and mini-marshmallows. Prices range from $3.50 to $5.50 for a cup or cone, $5.50 for a pint, and $9.75 for a quart. Ice-cream cupcakes($9.99 per 4-pack) can be enjoyed with a spoon or spoon-fingers. Dream cakes ($23.95+), on the other hand, come in appropriately oneiric flavors such as Maggie's Mud and Chocolate Heaven, and are available in 6-inch, 8-inch, and sheet-cake sizes. Health-conscious hedonists can indulge in strawberry-banana, creamy mango, and mocha coffee smoothies (starting at $5.25), whereas ice-cream pizzas ($21.95+) topped with white-chocolate curls will perplex pizza-party attendees before blasting away reservations with deliciousness.
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.
Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an all-day empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked dutch baby pancakes, and granny-smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and coffee blended specially to match the Original Pancake House's menu and upholstery. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with perks such as color-in place mats and kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot—in fact, it stays open for at least two meals a day, or six if you follow most doctors' advice to take a small pancake break every few hours. The savory side of the menu holds sandwiches piled with thick-cut meats, caesar salads, and savory crepes stuffed with cheese and veggies.
Char Hut has been a family affair for the Cammisa crew since they opened the first hamburger haven in 1976, and it continues to be today. Now the original founders and their children, daughter-in-law and nephew operate four locations across Florida, each serving up a hearty menu of juicy, char-grilled meats and diner-inspired sides that live up to the eatery's mantra "one bite says it all."
Dressed in a distinct green, yellow, and red awning, Char Hut restaurants invite diners to kick back as they sink into traditional American eats. Chefs oversee the transformation of their signature 1/3 pound burgers from bare patty into char-grilled delights dressed in 18 different toppings, such as cooked mushrooms and hot relish sauce. They also turn up the flames to char-grill hot dogs, chicken, and yellow fin tuna while cooking sweet-potato fries in 100% pure vegetable oil. To quell unstoppable appetites or prepare for a dinner party with a family of sasquatches, diners can stock up on specialty platters of Latin-style palomilla steak with plantains or chili with cut up hot dogs served over rice.