In 1964, brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel banded together to come up with a new restaurant concept. Arby's took off almost immediately on the coattails of its hallmark roast-beef sandwich and the founders’ idea of providing customers with fast, quality food. Over the company's 48-year franchise history, its foundational pièce de résistance of thinly sliced, juicy beef has been served in a many permutations, and continues to be popular today, served at more than 3,500 stores in North America. Today’s menu still ignites appetites with traditional beef sandwiches, plus hot and seasoned curly fries, fresh-chopped salads, and desserts good for richly capping off meals or bribing any bridge trolls on the way home.
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.
A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
Amiable service and a menu of quesadillas, fajitas, and prodigious combination platters, served amid vibrant red walls and meticulous floor-to-ceiling decorations, greet diners at Sabroso Mexican Grille. Afternoon munchers can choose from lunch-menu favorites such as a beef enchilada or a fish wrap, which comes loaded with grilled tuna fillet, crispy cabbage, and free legal advice. Culinary composers transform a quartet of hand-rolled tortillas into an ensemble of beef taquitos, and handmade tamales arrive tableside packed with shredded pork and a special-recipe chili sauce. Diners can opt to subdue pangs with veggie combinations, including a platter that fuses a two-cheese chili relleno with mexican rice and refried beans, or satiate parched buds with beverages that showcase unique Mexican elixirs, such as the creamy chords of horchata. Mouth muscles awaken with textured parcels of fried ice cream, which provide a mind-bending synthesis of warmth and cold, much like nefarious meetings held in a volcano.
Karrie and Glen Daze, the husband-and-wife team behind The Buttercream Bakehouse, whip up artisanal desserts with custom decorations. Inspired by visits to the quaint patisseries of Paris, the duo crafts cakes for all occasions in flavors such as Southern red velvet—a deep-red cocoa cake base infused with cream-cheese filling and smeared with vanilla buttercream. Using a chocolate cake cupcake as a base, Karrie and Glen paint artistic Snickers cupcakes with chocolate-buttermilk buttercream frosting, Snickers crumbles, caramel, and nuts. The couple also crafts pies, tarts, and cheesecakes, and a lunch menu replete with paninis, soups, and croissants.
Sonic boasts a hunger-obliterating menu of burgers, coneys, shakes, and more—all delivered straight to your road vessel by graceful roller-skating carhops. Settle burger-craving stomachs with a supersonic cheeseburger ($4.64), or craft a creative meal out of sides such as chili-cheese tots ($2.69), the cheesy jalapeño poppers ($3.23), and onion rings ($2.50/large), which, like engagement rings, symbolize love and taste better when dipped in ketchup. If crumb-covered palates need a cleansing, swallow a Sonic signature limeade ($1.50/medium) or a slush ($1.50/medium) in any combo of classic flavors, such as cherry, grape, watermelon, or orange. Once eaters have ordered, the all-American feast will arrive balanced atop the head of a roller-butler. Customers are welcome to feast right there in their cars or savor their selections on Sonic's outdoor patio.