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.
Dickey?s Barbecue Pit has smoked beef brisket in-house nearly every night since 1941, painting each morsel with a tangy house-made sauce. Pulled pork, turkey breast, and polish sausage round out the menu with meals that are heartier than a burrito wrapped in Paul Bunyan?s plaid shirt. Boxed lunches and catered buffets brim with homestyle sides such as coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese, and jalape?o beans. Once the last pickle has been crunched and the last finger has been licked, guests can savor one of the restaurant?s most cherished traditions: a vanilla cone, on the house.
At Vnam Restaurant, chefs have mastered a range of traditional Vietnamese dishes, from the fresh, herbaceous flavors of pho soup to the bold interplay of sweetness and spice in authentic curries and stir-fries. Their extensive menu spotlights standard and gluten-free entrees peppered with succulent morsels of seafood, pork, chicken, and beef, as well as inventive vegetarian interpretations that incorporate tofu and mock duck. Servers shuttle these mouthwatering masterpieces to a spacious, no-frills dining room, where the air brims with strains of live music on Thursday–Sunday and oxygen molecules on Monday–Wednesday.
Successful restaurateur Supenn Harrison made her first foray into the restaurant business more than 30 years ago, when she bought a burger joint in the Twin Cities. For Supenn, slinging patties wasn't enough to satisfy her love of the culinary arts; the Thailand native and former teacher quickly traded deep fryers for woks and opened her first Thai restaurant.
She eventually launched the first Sawatdee in 1983 in an abandoned warehouse, transforming the unlikely setting into something you might see in the heart of Bangkok, with gold-leaf ceilings and traditional artwork. Now, Supenn owns seven Sawatdee restaurants throughout Minnesota and has expanded the menu to include sushi dishes. Besides sharing her culinary skills through hands-on cooking classes, Supenn has disseminated her authentic Thai fare by catering birthday celebrations, family reunions, and the Rolling Stones' anti-retirement party.
Pasta Zola is a locally owned business to its core. Founders Mitch and Kris Thayer have lived, worked, and dined in the western suburbs of Minneapolis for decades. They decided to put their experiences to the test by building a business from the ground up, and in the process, they've established a place where visitors can do some building of their own, too.
Pasta Zola, found inside the Eden Prairie Center food court, lets diners customize their pasta dishes. They choose from six different types of pasta, such as rigatoni and whole-wheat penne, before picking from 10 kinds of sauce, such as creamy alfredo or roasted red pepper. Then, instead of shipping uncooked dishes across the globe through an outsourcing program, Pasta Zola has its chefs prepare creations right on the spot. They'll even add extra goodies, including veggies and meats, upon request.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to find dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as cheesy chipotle-chicken enchiladas, pulled pork with mashed potatoes, and rosemary and mustard grilled flank steak. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.