When Kipps Cheesesteak first opened in June 2010, owner Kipp wasn't sure if he'd be able to sell the 36 rolls he bought for the day. He shouldn't have worried—he was completely sold out by 11:45 a.m.
It seems that customers couldn't get enough of the cheesesteaks, which were served in classic fashion—rib eye topped with caramelized onions and slathered in Cheez Whiz or provolone—or jazzed up with green chilies, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce. The eatery is still going strong, and in addition to cheesesteaks, serves burgers, hot dogs, creative salads, and housemade cheesecakes.
The signature hot sandwiches and 23 types of frosty beers perch atop Kipps's retro-style bar, which is equipped with several wide-screen TVs broadcasting sports games and only the least-obnoxious car-insurance commercials.
Operating under the mantra Flavor Your Life, Bahama Buck's sends its patrons on a tropical holiday with every sip of its gourmet drinks. Island-inspired decor outfits each Bahama Buck's location, and the business's approach to flavor as an art form—with more than 90 flavors of shaved ice—carries over to its smoothies, which send creamy concoctions climbing through straws to rouse tasters with the zest of fresh fruit and juices. Hawaii's Kona coffee beans are used for Island House coffees, and island specialties, such as 100% natural juices, provide an afternoon pick-me-up without the pressure of negotiating with the intimidating children in charge of neighborhood lemonade stands.
Buffalo roam across sprawling flatlands as Hereford cattle munch mountain grasses on The Bowen Ranch, the working farmstead that houses The Edge of Texas Steakhouse and Saloon. In addition to lending the horizon a bucolic vibe, these herds suggest just how fresh a steak can be. Nearby, inside the train depot-turned-restaurant, guests can shake hands with a real cowboy before slicing into grilled-to-order beef and bison. This wrangler is Jim Bowen, founder of the eatery and leader of the Bowen clan that’s owned the ranch since the 1800s, when cattle landed in Texas by leaping over Saturn’s moons. The menu also brims with chuck-wagon classics such as barbecued brisket and Tex-Mex fare such as tortilla soup and chicken fajitas.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
The chefs at Salma Farah's Mediterranean Restaurant stick to the culinary traditions of the sun-steeped Lebanese and Syrian shores. Kebabs sizzle as they pour tzatziki across gyros and rolled grape leaves. Garlic and eggplant roast aromatically, bound for bowls of hummus or baba ghanouj. Steam rises from earthy, dark Arabic coffee near fatayers?baked pastries consisting of dough rolled around spinach or meat. The BYOB policy lets guests bring in their favorite vintage without having to pay a corkage fee or watch a clumsy waiter try to impress everybody with his unicycling skills when delivering bottles.
Alex Alqadi, who is from Jerusalem by way of Kuwait, recreates the city of his birth with the scents of frying falafel and warm pita. Colorful paintings of the Dome of the Rock further capture the feeling of visiting the eatery’s sun-steeped namesake city. In the restaurant, waiters carry plates laden with lamb shawarma and spanakopita to tables cloaked in carmine linens, and cooks roast eggplant in the oven to forge baba ghanoush or destroy evidence after breaking into a farmer’s vault.