At Salento Restaurant, his second BYOB venture, chef Davide Faenza draws on his roots in the region of Puglia, on the heel of the Italian boot, to fill a menu of authentic Italian fare. Home to “some of the finest raw ingredients in Italy,” according to a 2007 Philadelphia Weekly review, Puglia is known for its fresh seafood and simple pasta dishes. At Salento, servers carry in homemade gnocchi, sautéed fish filets, and other entrees that do justice to this tradition. After popping the last golden raisin from a balsamic-glazed chicken breast, guests can admire the dining room's glowing chandeliers, blue velvet curtains, and enormous mirror reflecting hungry pizza-delivery boys peeking in the front windows.
The Copper Pot?s name is inspired, in part, by the great American metaphor of the melting pot in that its menu represents a hodgepodge of classic American dishes such as meatloaf and chicken-fried steak. Some of these recipes have been tweaked and reinvented such as the baked mac 'n' cheese with shrimp and the fish 'n' chips with panko beer batter. Inside the restaurant, staffers attempt to cultivate a neighborhoody vibe, getting to know their clients instead of just yelling "Norm" as people walk in the door.
1950s ephemera decorate Gunther Toody's eight Colorado locations, lending an extra boost of Americana to plates of classic diner food such as burgers and meatloaf. The menu even draws its inspiration from American pop culture of yore, with Elvis fries, burgers named for Howdy Doody, and Big Bopper breakfasts served on platters of chantilly lace. Classic ice-cream treats including shakes, malteds, and black cows help lead each meal to a suitably sweet conclusion.
Shedding its former Fatburger brand, Epic Grill hosts a revamped menu that includes a new lineup of never-frozen burgers, sandwiches, and sides. Weighing in at 3 ounces, The Little E burger ($3.50) fills smaller appetites but struggles to follow in the belly-stretching footsteps of its 6-ounce brother, The E burger ($4.99)—both of which can be topped with add-ons including chili ($0.79) and grilled mushrooms ($0.69). Cooks slow-cook the pulled-pork sandwich's Carolina-style pork ($5.25), which comes smothered in a smoky barbecue sauce. Patrons can also orally explore nonbunned eats with Epic Burger's salads ($6.95–$7.95) or wrap their jowls around the popular honey-hawaiian sliders (4 for $5.95), great for sharing with friends or imitating how yetis would eat The E burger.
Damascus Grill's culinary maestros conduct a flavorful symphony of authentic Middle Eastern dishes composed from family recipes and fresh ingredients. Dining duos can peruse the lengthy menu of made-from-scratch delicacies before putting hands or retired snow shovels to work with an appetizer of hummus mutabbal infused with garlic and olive oil, or fried stuffed kibbi packed with ground meat and nuts. Skewers of marinated scallops, shrimp, and salmon morsels politely mingle in the seafood combo, and tender slices of lamb assist rice in filling a pita pocket to its 50-gallon capacity. Vegetarians can sink their unnecessarily sharp incisors into moussaka, a flavorful blend of eggplant, green peppers, and onions baked and served with an entourage of rice and hummus.
Hella Burger's chefs dish out gourmet burgers, hot dogs, and seasoned fries and chips from the confines of a silver airstream trailer. Saddle up to the trailer window and scan the menu for Hella's eight specialty burgers, made with local Colorado beef and a blend of premium USDA-choice brisket, beef short rib, and ground chuck. Test drive the best-selling El Diablo, the signature beef patty piled with roasted poblano peppers, aged Swiss cheese, and habanero avocado cream ($7.99), or deviate from the dough norms with the Trailer Trash, an egg-topped burger with maple bacon and american cheese on a glazed donut ($7.99). Non-burger options include New York– and Chicago–style hot dogs ($4.99–$5.50) made from 100% all-natural beef and nestled in a steamed poppy seed bun. The Drunk Chick sandwich obliterates boring chicken patties with whiskey-ground achiote chicken, fresh poblano peppers, and spicy red pepper aioli ($6.99).