When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked on site, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same. Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
Boasting a rich, spice-infused history, Rudolphs has been tickling noses and tantalizing taste buds since 1975. Much like the sun in most medieval Italian conceptions of the cosmos, the joint’s flavor-filled menu revolves around its ribs, all of which are named after Hollywood stars and silver-screen milestones. Uncover the taste that dreams are made of with a full slab of St. Louis–style “Bogie” spare ribs ($24.95), or order the barbecue-for-two “Bruce Wayne” and share its half slab of baby-back ribs and one-quarter of barbecue chicken with your annoying, bare-legged sidekick ($22.50). Each slab of succulent bone-meat is hand-rubbed with spices, aged for at least 48 hours, cooked in a custom pit, and put to sleep with a bedtime story. If your torso is already full of ribs, sample a slew of Southern fare instead, such as the “Private Benjamin” buttermilk fried chicken with smashed potatoes, asparagus, and chicken jus ($14.50) or a bowl of Woody’s Louisiana gumbo ($5.95). As the credits roll on your film-buffed feast, give it a happy ending with a Moonstruck (crème brûlée; $5.95) or the Elmer Fudge’s six layers of chocolate cake ($7.95).
Lone Spur’s menu offers a massive selection of tasty eats known to spark spontaneous “Yeehaws” and unprintable Deadwood quotes from dining city slickers. Master cooks harness a slow-cooking heat to ensure that each brisket emerges from the pit 14 hours later in a delicious smoky cloud that won't try to kill you like the monster from your favorite island program. After a lunch of sandwiches and ol’ Mexico bites such as the buffalo burger ($9.50), brisket melt ($7.95), and lunch taco burrito ($7.75), you can ride back through town for some dinner barbecue (any two meats, $12.95; any three meats, $15.95), which includes Texas toast; a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or soup; and a choice of seasoned steak fries, ranch house beans, cornbread, or baked potato with your beef, pork, or poultry order. If you still miss the danger of high noon shoot-outs, Lone Spur offers a chili so hot it requires a signed release before consumption. And if you can't take the heat, try the smoked sautéed pork barbecue ($11.45, Texas size $13.95) or three pounds of turkey leg ($12.95) instead. For dessert, dive into a hot fudge brownie stampede ($4.99) or Texas saucy banana ($4.99), just like real cowboys did before they settled in for a night of pillow fights and painting each other's nails.
The year 1927 saw Babe Ruth’s Yankees dominate pro baseball and the precursor to Big Louie's Bar and Grill—Main Street Tavern—open in Minneapolis. In addition to depicting athletes from that bygone era, the Big Louie’s menu catalogs an array of traditional American bar and grill fare. From boneless wings to fish ‘n’ chips, the cuisine roster has even more depth than the famed Yankees lineup of ’27. The restaurant further establishes its entertainment value by hosting karaoke and bingo and by not allowing recitations of real-estate-law books.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.