From humble beginnings as a single donut shop in Lakewood, California, in 1953, Denny's has grown into a nationwide destination for classic American diner food served around the clock. After starting off as Danny's Donuts, the shop quickly expanded to a second location and began offering sandwiches. In just six more years, Danny's Donuts had morphed into Denny's and split into 20 franchises. Today, more than 1,700 locations thrive across the nation, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any time that diners walk into or gleefully roll through their eatery.
Every day, Carpenter Hamburgers stocks fresh beef from local vendors in its refrigerator. They form this beef into hamburger patties, from a quarter-pound round to a hefty full-pound burger. Though the crew will tailor a burger with customers' desired toppings—from grilled onions to fried eggs—they also prepare signature Texas Fire Cracker burgers. The latter burst with pepperjack cheese and fried jalapeno strips, giving tongues a bigger kick than Paul Bunyan booting a soccer ball to his ox. The kitchen also crafts other casual food favorites from ingredients culled from local vendors—frito pies, hot dogs, fried pickles, and steak fingers.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
In 2003, entrepreneur Donald Brown opened the first Donald Brown Chicken, a restaurant that would soon become a family enterprise. Though the signature fried-chicken recipe is a well-kept secret guarded by cooks trained in krav maga, daughter Donnice gladly gives out hints to its taste. "It's a touch spicy, but my 1-year-old nephew and 2-year-old niece love to eat it," she says. Housemade waffles and traditional sides such as greens, yams, and black-eyed peas round out meals.