Carolina Deli has stood on the frontlines of the lunchtime rush for more than three decades, furnishing empty belly space with fresh sandwiches, salads, house-made sweets, and freshly brewed iced tea. Owners Travis and Melanie Mooney prevail over the homey, family-operated eatery, where Midlands munchers flock five days a week to tackle the shop's diverse menu with their mouths. Carolina Deli's specialty sandwiches, such as the Eagle, stuffed with roast beef, turkey, and bacon, challenge jaw-stretching capabilities with hefty stacks of meats and veggies, and the deli allows diners to design their own meaty, handheld creations. Luncheons, corporate events, and weddings can also treat taste buds to a catered Carolina Deli spread, including an optional, 3-foot tall chocolate fountain, in which guests can dip fruit or "accidentally" drop a penny into before diving in to retrieve it.
The culinary team at Tsunami fixes up a veritable feast for the eyes with artfully plated Japanese delicacies festooned with sprigs of herbs, splashes of sauce, and colorful garnishes. Flames rage as hibachi chefs blast rib-eye steaks, scallops, and vegetables on their sizzling grills, and the restaurant’s sushi-rolling savants coil specialty rolls such as the Emperor, which surprises tasters with hidden stashes of fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, eel, shrimp, and avocado. At Tsunami's four locations, diners polish off plates in a sleek, modern dining room with candles in faceted glass votives, a bar backlit with lights that slowly change colors, and waiters who can speak fluent binary code.
A row of gleaming handles awaits customers at 32 Degrees, with each serving station unleashing a unique flavor of frozen yogurt tasty enough to warrant press mentions from the Birmingham News and Oxford Sun. Guests peruse the frosty options, serving themselves swirls of nonfat treats such as orchard peach or no-sugar-added Tahitian vanilla. The meltable technicolor mountains can be topped with more than 50 options, including roasted almonds, fresh seasonal fruit, candies, cereals, and pieces of used gift cards. Flavors rotate frequently, allowing repeat customers to gradually work their way through more than 40 flavor possibilities.
Chefs at Delhi Palace craft each piece of clay-oven-baked bread from scratch, evincing an attention to detail that helped earn them the title of Best Indian Restaurant 2010 from readers of the Free Times. Plain, topped with garlic, or stuffed with peppers or potatoes, this bread soaks up sauces from goat, lamb, and seafood dishes on the à la carte menu, and also pairs with vegetarian dishes formed from housemade cheese or roasted eggplants. In addition, lunch and dinner buffets lay out traditional dishes under the dark wood arches, ivory-painted columns, and Indian-style murals of the dining room.
Sonic Drive-in boasts a hunger-obliterating menu of burgers, coneys, shakes, and more—all delivered straight to your horseless carriage by gracefully roller-skating carhops. Settle burger-craving stomachs with a supersonic cheeseburger ($4.19), and craft a creative meal out of sides like mozzarella sticks (five for $2.99), chili cheese tots ($2.59), ched' r' peppers' ($2.99), and onion rings ($2.19/large), which, like engagement rings, symbolize love and taste better dipped in ketchup. Cleanse your crumb-covered palate with a Sonic signature limeade ($2.09/medium) or a slush ($1.89/medium) in any combo of classic flavors like cherry, grape, watermelon, orange, or quantum particle, which tastes like everything yet strangely nothing. Once you've ordered from the comfy confines of your car or decommissioned lunar module, your all-American feast will arrive balanced atop the head of your roller-butler just in time to catch you tearfully singing along to "Forever Young." Customers are welcome to feast in their cars or savor their selections on Sonic's outdoor patio.
Tokyo Grill’s chefs stand over sizzling grills, their furrowed brows illuminated by the dancing flames as they speedily prepare food that blends hibachi flavors with fast and casual dining. With swiftness and precision, they grill fresh vegetables alongside juicy strips of steak, cuts of chicken, and plump jumbo shrimp, then quickly plate the still-steaming meats atop beds of rice speckled with wedges of zucchini, slices of onion, and traces of fairy dust. Elsewhere in the kitchen, sushi chefs are equally hard at work, folding crabmeat and crisp cucumbers into sushi rolls.