When the original Philly Soft Pretzel Factory location had a line out the door, its founders knew they had a hit on their hands. That was in 1998; today, over 100 franchise locations serve their special-recipe soft pretzels. Each chewy treat is hand twisted, baked fresh, and served hot from the oven into the customer's waiting hands, or mouth if they're really hungry. Pretzels can be topped with traditional salt, or spiced up with garlic or sesame seeds, while a selection of dipping sauces ranging from cheddar cheese to sweet chocolate provide layers of dunking flavor. And for those who prefer their baked goods meaty, dough-wrapped dogs and cheesesteak-filled pretzels are available.
Ole Tapas Lounge & Restaurant isn't just about internationally influenced Spanish cuisine?it's also about conversation. Everything from the tapas' presentation, which clearly draws inspiration from the Iberian Peninsula, to the flavors, which look to that region and beyond, give patrons ample reason to put away their conversational cue cards. Then there's the shareable portions of grilled octopus with guindilla aioli and tempura-fried cauliflower with a tomato-cumin sauce, which guarantee a convivial atmosphere as plates pass back and forth across the table.
Yet the Ole Tapas Lounge & Restaurant menu isn't constrained to small plates, just as the dining room isn't constrained to Delaware. Chefs also prepare traditional Spanish entr?es, such as saffron-tinged paellas that can feed as many as six people, in a space flecked with rustic reds, yellows, and wood tones. The combination seems to lift the high-backed banquettes and stout chairs from the earthenware floors and carry them to the streets of Madrid. Meanwhile, behind the bar, tenders mix appropriately Spanish cocktails and pitchers of sangria that leave a fruity, festive tint in the mouth.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
The kitchen at Home Grown Caf? is stocked with locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients whenever possible. That palate of fresh greens, house-made sauces, and Black Angus beef pairs with eclectic recipes, which have nabbed a slew of awards from Delaware Today, including Best Healthy Fare four of the last five years. Many plates, such as the pad thai with shrimp, can be converted into filling vegan meals with seitan. A full gluten-free menu provides options for patrons who have wheat sensitivities or recently had a tearful falling out with a gingerbread man. The chefs craft sandwiches with proteins including sirloin steak or tofu and toppings such as bacon and brie.
Beside supporting local farms, the cafe throws its support toward the arts, displaying a rotating cast of local craftspeople on the walls and hosting live music performances five nights a week, including Jazz sets on Sunday.
Within local favorite Matilda's Pub lies mad-macs, a comfort fare haven dedicated to the chefs' gooey mastery of mac 'n' cheese with a family-friendly vibe. Among rich espresso wood fixtures, overstuffed bench seats, and chalkboard walls covered in doodles, mac masters dish out decadent lobster mac with mascarpone cheese, philly cheesesteak mac, and Cajun shrimp and crab mac, among their many rich combinations. Around the eatery, abstract macaroni art tempts hungry eyes while kids are given supplies to craft their own masterpieces or a new set of edible parents before they go up on a special display wall. Behind the bar, bartenders mix adults-only milk shakes, and in the kitchen the chefs plate their culinary works of art as customers order fresh hand-formed burgers, Aussie-style crab cakes, and steaks.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft-serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.