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% Certified 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 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 from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, 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.
When the owners of Jake's Food & Spirits started planning out their dream bar, they wanted to create a space where locals would want to hang out all day. In turn, they built a bar that is welcoming for everyone—that includes adults, families, and dogs. You can feel free to bring in the pet and enjoy a lunch on the sunny patio, or sip on microbrews, play pool, and watch comedians inside at night.
In between those hours, the kitchen staff dishes up their twist on classic American fare. For brunch, they serve up a range of benedicts known as "bennies" along with corned beef sweet hash, challah french toast and biscuits and gravy. The dinner menu includes seven flavors of wings, as well as posole soup with pulled pork and hominy, served with a side of cheesy grits. To complement these dishes, they offer house cocktails as well as kitschy treats such as fried Oreos and caramelized Betty Boop figurines.
Pisco Sour Restaurant & Lounge's chefs dish out Peruvian cuisine that fuses traditional seafood, vegetarian, and meat dishes with contemporary American ingredients and authentic spices. To warm up taste buds for two varieties of ceviche that each build on foundations of fresh sea bass, chefs prep creative apps such as the papa rellena, which features potatoes scrubbed free of their tiny plastic lips and stuffed with seasoned beef, tomatoes, and raisins, all drenched in a spicy sauce.
They keep the stovetop warm during breakfast, lunch, and evening cocktail hours, when the bar pours out the eatery's namesake beverage—the pisco sour, a complex Peruvian blend of grape brandy, egg whites, and citrus. The buzzing dining room frequently welcomes a rotating variety of live entertainment, such as hip-hop, techno, and merengue music.
At Carrie’s Place, friendly and attentive service accompanies each plate—piled high with smoked barbecue, juicy burgers, and grilled fish. Fresh produce and ingredients sourced from local farms are used in the traditional Southern dishes, including slow-cooked beef brisket, chicken and waffles, catfish, and deep-fried Hank Williams records. Hearty baby back ribs and buttery roasted corn on the cob can share table space with light dishes of grilled salmon and cobb salad. There’s an authentic home-cooked flavor to side dishes such as fried okra, corn bread, and baked beans. Feel free to complement your feast with a fruit smoothie or spicy chai, and end the meal with slices of rich sweet-potato and pecan pie or brownies crowned with scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings—in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. The duo is also famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
Cebiche Highlands' chefs forge aromatic Peruvian dishes from recipes steeped in the country's Incan heritage and peppered with Spanish, African, Asian, and European influences. Citrusy ceviches encompass a suite of seafood, such as the shrimp, squid, and octopus. Bisteck a lo pobre presents a fine cut of fried steak, and aji de gallina veils shredded chicken in a creamy parmesan-walnut sauce that trickles onto accompanying steamed rice. Many dishes on the menu can be prepared vegetarian or in full Technicolor upon request.
Diners can sip pisco, a strong peruvian brandy dating back to the 16th century, on an outdoor patio, or savor velvety spoonfuls of crème volteada—a Peruvian spin on flan—amid the indoor dining area's collection of native trinkets.