Since it was founded in 1968, Tao Natural and Organic Foods Cafe has grown from a place to buy bulk herbs and specialty books to an emporium of nutritional supplements, organic foods, and holistic health services. The chefs in the caf? cater to paleo, raw, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners with a menu full of progressive, farm-to-table cuisine, which can be enjoyed in the dining room or on a patio under lush gingko trees. Acupuncture, reiki, and massage treatments help restore balance to bodies, while frequent workshops teach healthy habits to whole families, training kids how to cook and parents how to use home remedies.
From humble beginnings as a child in Jerusalem, Falafel King's proprietor worked his way up from having just a frying pan and gasoline burner to his name to owning a trio of Lebanese eateries. A brightly lit yellow crown draws diners to the Falafel King as surely as the bat signal attracts superheroes and grizzled detectives. Inside the restaurant, pitas ensconce grilled meat filled with Mediterranean spices and crisp falafel sits alongside whirls of hummus.
Stone tiles surround a serene Buddha as he presumably listens to the light chatter ricocheting off the carved wooden walls and ceiling. The cuisine at Chiang Mai Thai is just as nuanced. Chef Thi Mai Evans nods to Bangkok street food with appetizers such as chicken satay and sweet dried beef, but then turns toward southern Thailand with comforting curries spiced to the preferences of her diners. She also draws from the Thai royal family's cookbook to balance hot and sour flavors in tom yum soup. Along with piquant dishes, the candlelit Buddha Lounge encourages social dining with creative cocktails infused with thai basil and lemongrass. It also hosts events such as Back Alley Karaoke every Thursday, which is sometimes known as Friday's slightly more responsible sibling.
At Osaka Sushi and Hibachi Steakhouse, teppanyaki chefs preside over sweltering tableside hibachi grills, entertaining diners as they slice and dice succulent cuts of filet mignon, chicken, and swordfish. A customer can wrap a partner's lips around the hibachi lover's dinner for two, which lets scallops, shrimp, lobster, and filet mignon rendezvous on a romantically arranged platter that is perpetually serenaded by a thumb-size accordion player. Alternatively, a slate of dishes that comes to life away from the hibachi grill includes proteins slathered in teriyaki sauce, hidden in tempura batter, or mixed with stir-fried noodles. Special sushi rolls—such as the Dancing roll with tuna, salmon, and yellowtail—also cha-cha from table to mouth.
It's hard to hear "diggity" without thinking "hot" and "dog." So Diggity Restaurant serves up all-beef ones crowned with a variety of toppings. The chili cheese dog, for instance, comes doused with its namesake toppings. Others come with such extras as giardiniera, ghost-pepper cheese, or Fritos to add a satisfying crunch, much like replacing the bun with two saltines.
One even comes stuffed with cheese curds, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried. Those who opt to take the Death by Dog challenge must eat five of these hearty franks in less than 30 minutes to win a place on the champions board and dirty looks from a cardiologist.
Diggity's culinary team serves up other casual American eats, too, including half and full slabs of slow-cooked barbecue ribs, hand-smashed burgers, italian beef sandwiches, pasta topped with Cincinnati-style chili, and saucy meatball subs.
There's always something happening at G.B. Leighton's Pickle Park. Whether it's live music acts that frequent the stage every weekend, trivia, or a game airing on the 50" plasma, visitors will be hard-pressed to find a reason to be bored. Beneath a 32-foot replica Gibson Guitar, the bartenders sling everything from wine and craft beers to well drinks and pitchers. And from the kitchen, an array of bar-friendly grub including wings, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and giant burgers made with 100% angus beef slakes hunger.