Soft, colored light beams out from beneath the elegant sushi bar at Mandarin Moon, where skilled sushi chefs prepare traditional and specialty rolls. Lobster tail, spicy tuna, and salmon inhabit the gleaming glass case alongside more unexpected ingredients, such as duck and grilled steak. Between mouthfuls of sushi and sashimi, diners at the dark-wood tables and chairs can feast on classic Thai dishes, Chinese food favorites, or the envy of guests who didn't order the crab rangoon.
Nellie’s chefs layer Thumann's meats and cheeses and fresh vegetables onto cold, hot, and grilled sandwiches. The neighborhood eatery's menu is a confluence of deli classics, such as club and cuban sandwiches, and Floridian favorites made with house-made crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, and liquefied sun rays. A sizzling grill sears freshly ground burgers and emblazons hot pastrami with a rainbow of golden-brown hues. Umbrellas shade an outdoor patio, where patrons guzzle glasses of sweet tea brewed according to a recipe as old-fashioned as a rotary toaster oven.
Dessert is up to you at YoServe, a self-service frozen-yogurt shop that specializes in low-fat and nonfat treats. Despite being low in calories, swirls of Tahitian vanilla, Sicilian blood orange, and dulce de leche still provide a decadent treat, capped in toppings such as fruit, candy, and brownies. YoServe also blends toppings and frosty yogurt into smoothies for perfect on-the-go snacking.
Dave Bohannon had a simple idea for a restaurant: he wanted to open one by the water and craft a concise menu of uncomplicated, but immaculately prepared dishes. With this vision in mind, he and his wife Alice opened Surf Burger. She honed its decor with help from local artists, creating an interior where old beach-themed paintings line the walls and surf movies play against a soundtrack of island music. Not only do the couple and their children leave their mark on the eatery’s menu and interior decor, but on its guests, as well. They often venture from their respective posts to eat, chat, and get matching tattoos with diners, forging a sense of community and transforming one-time visitors into loyal regulars.
They bolster this friendly, low-key atmosphere with casual dishes such as burgers, chili dogs, and fish tacos, as well as sweet-potato fries and quarter-pound Cajun sausages inspired by down-home southern recipes. At a full-service bar, servers pour draft beers and blend frosty tropical cocktails, which arrive before customers seated in the beachy dining room or on the outdoor, dog-friendly deck.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.