A place for edible creativity, Yoli's beckons visitors to concoct their own frozen yogurt treats. The shop keeps 21 different flavors—including low-fat options—on tap, and its toppings bar incites snackers to load up on as many add-ons as they please. Bursts of color aren't limited to yogurt cups, however, as the shop features red tables and booths, retro white chairs, and two flat-screen TVs to make onsite munching extra comfortable.
A sizzle rings throughout Lou’s Burger House’s kitchen as the cooks toss behemoth 10-ounce burgers onto grills. Nearby, friendly staffers sing and dance while washing dishes or joke with the customers, who lick flaky chicken-pot-pie crust off their forks and tear into barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches. Forks also dig into heaping sides of mac ’n’ cheese, creamed potatoes, and collard greens, as well as sweet-cherry and peach cobbler. Lou’s recently added the barbecue options to its menu—making its slogan, “Our butts will drive you nuts!” finally have more than one meaning.
It's hard to imagine a restaurant that epitomizes the great American diner better than Huddle House. Since 1964, the restaurant?which has locations scattered prominently throughout the southern states?has warmed bellies with burgers, hearty breakfasts, and heaping helpings of friendly hospitality, available 24-hours a day. Even the moniker is All-American: founder John Sparks came up with the name after a football huddle, hoping it would inspire his customers to gather round a table and swap stories over a warm meal.
Over the years, Huddle House's menu has expanded and adapted to changing tastes, but its focus has remained the same: old-fashioned, American comfort food. No matter what time it is, guests can order up biscuits smothered in gravy and cheese or dig into the shop's signature waffles, whipped up using a secret recipe and waffle irons that can't read. Afternoon eats include chopped steak burgers served with regular or sweet potato fries and sandwiches with a southern twist, like a Philly cheese steak stuffed between slices of thick-cut Texas toast.
In today's restaurant environment, sometimes the food takes a backseat to everything around it?be it a celebrity chef or a dining room designed by a famous architect. This isn't the case at Chatt Smoke House, where the food is always the focus. Within Chatt's casual, no-frills atmosphere, regulars dine on simple barbecue favorites. Its these smoky pork sandwiches, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and comforting Southern sides that keep them coming back time and again?not the bells and whistles.
When discussing the atmosphere at Meo Mio's Cajun Spirits, owner Brian Sabo told reporters from Nooga.com, "I want people to forget they are in Chattanooga, forget their worries." To that end, his restaurant abounds with New Orleans–style decorations, from the glittery masks that adorn the wood-paneled walls to the colorful Mardi Gras beads dangling from servers’ necks. Yet the roots of this Cajun feel grow within the kitchen, where chefs fold fresh seafood and spices imported from New Orleans into creamy pastas and po’ boys. These grill masters also sizzle up fine cuts of aged steak and fill buckets with boiled shrimp, fried oysters, and seasoned catfish until they overflow.
Back out in the double-tiered dining area, guests linger over long island iced teas and final bites of bread pudding beneath the glow of a towering television screen and the gaze of a 2,600-pound clay sculpture of Louis Armstrong. Live local bands toot horns and strum their guitars on the restaurant's stage, conjuring jazzy festivity by beckoning feet to twirl across the dance floor. Throughout the year, the restaurant also hosts special events, from costume parties on Halloween to ceremonial beard trimmings on the first day of spring.
The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, chefs assemble grilled and deli-style hoagies and bake calzones and pizzas in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.