Sandra Dee has been a chef since she was 9, when she first helped her mother and grandmother—both accomplished home cooks—create zesty creole recipes for their Sunday get-togethers. Today, she continues that familial spirit, running the kitchen of her own barbecue restaurant with help from her husband, Jeffrey, their sons and daughters, and one nephew. Within her brick walls, covered on the outside with murals of jazz legends such as Etta James, Sandra Dee slow cooks barbecued beef tri-tips, pork loin, chicken, beef links, and other meats, flips barbecued veggie burgers, deep-fries catfish, and serves up sides of potato salad and hush puppies. To wash down savory bites, tenders pour beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, such as the mojito and Old Fashion Manhattan—a mix of bourbon and sweet vermouth that still occasionally wears pantaloons.
Voted Best BBQ by Sacramento’s CBS affiliate five years in a row, Texas West BBQ treats palates to an array of tender cuts hand-rubbed in spices and slow-cooked to exude a signature smoky flavor. The menu foregrounds Texas West’s barbecue platters of tri-tip steak ($13.99) and sliced beef brisket ($11.99). Each dish is laid aside texas toast, and guests can then feel free to use two homemade sides to dress the beefy bundles of joy in coleslaw onesies and top them with macaroni-salad bonnets before holding an optional sweet shower of fresh-baked peach cobbler ($3.99). Meanwhile, parents concerned about televisions hypnotizing their children and convincing them to eat violent video games can treat kids to safe, savory portions such as corn dogs and fries ($4.99).
Logan's Roadhouse began as a simple celebration of barbecue and meat in Lexington, Kentucky. The theme resonated with diners, and the restaurant quickly multiplied from one kitchen to 230 company-operated locations and 26 franchises, spread across 23 states. At every location, the eatery retains its original Southern charm, calling bottled beers "ice-cold longnecks" and serving more than 50 entrees, such as aged, wood-grilled steaks with mesquite flavorings. Logan's Roadhouse also has a few other signature items, including made-from-scratch yeast rolls and bottomless buckets of in-shell peanuts. And, like any classic roadhouse, Logan's slings all manner of specialty drinks, including prickly pear margaritas and Roadhouse Tea made with Ole Smoky Tennessee White Lightning Moonshine.
Finding Central Station Grill is as simple as following the aromas of slow-cooked ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and hot links all the way back to the restaurant's meat-filled smoker. These savory meats arrive at diners' tables with a glaze of sauce, a piece of jalape?o cornbread, and a selection of classic, homemade sides, such as potato salad, coleslaw, or baked beans. However, the menu of familiar home-cooking isn't limited to barbecue. Upon reaching the front counter, guests are also tempted by a selection of cheesesteaks, deli-style sandwiches, wings, burgers, and chili-cheese dogs. Central Station Grill's dining area is no less inviting and family-friendly. Burgundy-hued chairs surround casual tables, framed black-and-white photos adorn the walls, and the refrigerator door is covered with the standout report cards of the restaurant's regulars.
Since the first Logan's Roadhouse opened in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991, the restaurant has grown to more than 200 locations, bringing its grilled roadhouse food as far west as California. At each location, the floors of which are typically covered in shells from the buckets of peanuts at each table, eaters can carve into top sirloin and pull apart baby back ribs that have been slow roasting for eight hours. The grilled grub is complemented by beers, cocktails, sweet teas, and sides, such as baked potatoes, coleslaw, and mac 'n' cheese.
The brainchild of an iron chef with more than 30 years of restaurant experience, Susumu Japanese Steakhouse dazzles diners with hibachi-style fare prepared tableside with fresh ingredients and show-stopping cooking methods. Nighttime noshers take a front-row seat to the spectacle of Susumu’s trained chefs twirling knives, flipping eggs, and constructing active onion volcanoes on the sizzling grill. Lemon chicken, teriyaki beef, hibachi prawn, and veggie specialties sputter and pop tableside like Thomas Edison’s short-lived invention, the electrified tablecloth, setting the stage for inventive desserts, such as tempura ice cream or banana spring rolls. The sushi bar’s chilled appetizers and rolled samplers provide a delicious alternative to grilled entrees, and a yakiniku menu features Japanese barbeque.