In April of 2011, a group of friends on a fishing trip—all veterans of the hospitality industry—got to talking about their love of food as they cooked their dinner around a campfire. The smoky flavors, crackling flames, and friendship merged into an idea to create a barbecue joint with traditional Southern comfort fare and an interactive dessert element.
Today, diners pile into wood-backed booths to dig into ribs slathered in house sauce, smoked sausages, and a menu stocked with homestyle fare. From three types of mac 'n' cheese—traditional, broccoli, and pulled pork—to fresh-ground burgers made with short ribs, brisket, and ground chuck, the kitchen crew crafts its own takes on classic comfort fare as flat-screen TVs flicker above the bar. The dessert section includes do-it-yourself s'mores that are toasted tableside by a portable burn pit and touted as "the only dessert in town that requires a disclaimer," an honor previously held by torch-it-yourself crème brûlée.
Cold Stone's ice cream inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and the creamerie also offers sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $3.79 and $5.29, depending on size and location.
Marvin's Garden blast-freezes and packages fine meat and poultry to seal in flavor and freshness for up to six months from the date of purchase. Restaurant-quality dishes are delivered straight to each customer’s novelty doormat, enabling them to forge feasts of hearty ham, Angus filets, and sushi-grade seafood. Marvin's chefs also simplify party planning by crafting 50-portion packs of gourmet hors d'oeuvres, such as bacon-wrapped scallops and petite quiches.
Marvin's Garden ensures the freshness of its meat through blast freezing, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze flesh in seconds and lock in juices. Meats are sealed in Cryovac packaging to protect them from bacterial cultures and pop-culture trivia.
Sam Ahmad and Rosco Sayyar first flung open the ornate wooden doors of Sam and Rosco's in 1987, beginning a decades-long tradition of fine dining and serving continental and Italian fare. Inside, white-clothed tables snake along the exposed brick walls of multiple dining rooms, and cushy armchairs host sippers by the bar. Illuminated by a roaring fireplace and glimmering chandeliers, servers bring forth plates of Italian pasta, seafood, and steaks, along with glasses brimming with fine wines. Sam and Rosco's also hosts and caters parties at their events facility, The Centre at Arbor Connection, located just down the road.
At Thumbs Up Diner, plush red stools underline curved, formica countertops, and chefs flip omelets in cast-iron skillets. Flourishes such as these imbue Thumbs Up Diner with the aura of a classic ?50s diner. Though it?s an apt comparison in regards to ambiance, chefs strive to surpass the no-frills cuisine of their ?50s forbearers. The kitchen team smokes italian sausage, turkey, and chicken in house, and squeezes orange juice fresh to order. To wit: pancakes, waffles, and name tags that just won't stay put can be drizzled with pure New England maple syrup, and from-scratch jams can be spread across multigrain biscuits. And though meat, egg, and cheese dishes may sizzle in cast-iron skillets, the cooks also dole out vegan entrees.