When you set foot inside Original Roadhouse Grill, you may hear a crunch. Look down, and you’ll see hundreds of peanut shells scattered across the floor— remnants of the complimentary peanuts served by the bucketful. Country music and classic rock plays from an old-fashioned jukebox as servers perform lively line dances amidst walls of colorful knickknacks and neon signs. The atmosphere is equally as energetic in the kitchen, where open-air mesquite-wood grills roar with flames that sizzle hand-cut USDA Washington State steaks, juicy bison burgers, and thick slabs of ribs. To craft their renowned Texas egg rolls, the creative cooks fry up plump wonton shells stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños. Servers bear the heavy platters into the dining room, along with cups of regional beers and mason jars of Wild West–inspired cocktails—such as a Luckenbach lemonade and a Bootlegger iced tea. The restaurant staff encourages guests to dress casually, welcoming worn blue jeans, comfortable T-shirts, and loose-fitting wedding gowns.
Along the bar, giant concrete vases house bouquets of aged wood that slither up toward the ceiling, reaching for the blown-glass lamps that hang above. Out on the patio, guests coz up on a sofa with a glass of wine; even when the weather is cool, tall pillars protect an open flame that projects radiant heat across the outdoor lounge.
The modern decor presents a pleasant contrast to the authentic, traditional greek cuisine. During lunch and dinner, the vast menu is home to classics, such as whole roasted sea bass and spanikopita, as well as American-influenced plates of fries sprinkled with feta. Live music and drink specials enliven the atmosphere Thursday–Saturday, with regular guests playing jazz or bouzouki, a traditional Greek string instrument that's strummed like a guitar.
An open-flame hearth is at the heart of Cosi's kitchen space, giving sandwiches and pizzas their toasty crunch. But there's a lot more to the menu than what happens under the flame. The T.B.M. sandwich piles tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella inside warm flatbread and the tandoori chicken sandwich brightens up grilled chicken breast with red peppers. Even salads are hearty meals here, with choices such as the cobb mixing greens with grilled chicken breast, bacon, and gorgonzola in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. The crown on top of any meal here is undoubtedly the s'mores, in which two to four diners roast their own marshmallows over a tabletop fire pit, then sandwich the sugar cloud with chocolate and graham crackers before dragging their sleeping bags into the kitchen for a night's rest.
Devised by Cliff Young, the renowned restaurateur and host of PBS’s Out to Eat, the Pechanga Food Truck Festival summons more than 40 mobile food vendors to dish up an eclectic array of gourmet cuisine and equally flavorful culinary conversation. Nationally recognized restaurants park next to chefs from local nomadic eateries, such as Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice, Crepe’n Around, and Pie ‘n Burger.
Guests can tote their own lightweight folding chairs and leashed pets as they peruse the fleet of four-wheeled eateries and wash down the samples at an onsite beer garden. The epicurean revelry culminates in the People’s Choice Award, bestowed upon the vendor that receives the most votes from patrons and traffic police.
After a wrong turn to Philadelphia led him to a transcendental encounter with a cheesesteak, Charley’s Grilled Subs’ eponymous owner opened his first sub shop on Ohio State University's campus in the late 1980s. More than two decades later, Charley’s slings philly-steak subs and gourmet fries in more than 300 locations around the world. Classic cheesesteaks join barbecue-cheddar, sicilian, and chicken configurations on the hearty menu alongside grilled deli subs and salads topped with seared meats. Crispy golden fries invite crumbles of bacon and dollops of cheese, ranch, and other deluxe toppings, washed down with sips of lemonade freshly squeezed from lemons, kiwis, strawberries, and 1958 Edsels.
Carne asada is a specialty at Tukan Grill: you can get it in taco form, topped with creamy guacamole, or even tossed over french fries, covered in shredded cheese. But one of the most popular ways to have it is as a fajitas plate. The menu here goes beyond asada, though: like the mess hall at the United Nations, it seamlessly blends culinary styles, with dishes such as the Mexican lasagna, made with shredded chicken, tortillas, and homemade tomatillo sauce, and the surf and turf burritos, stuffed with steak and shrimp. You can also enjoy hearty breakfasts of huevos rancheros or saucy chilaquiles, or have a dinner of tortas al pastor and pair it up with frosty beers and margaritas.