It's amazing that Central Park BBQ's pristinely white exterior isn't covered in reddish-brown fingerprints, especially since most of the food inside is slathered in a generous helping of barbecue sauce. The restaurant's cooks fill the menu with plenty of Southern charm, which can be tasted in specialties including thick seafood gumbo and Memphis-style ribs that are twice as long as the plate they arrive on. Each BBQ plate comes with a drink to wash down the mountain of meat, bread to sop up sauce, and two sides, such as coleslaw and macaroni and cheese.
Since 1950, the family-owned Whataburger has served up its iconic burgers and fresh, made-to-order meals with a commitment to excellent customer service. Now headquartered in San Antonio, Whataburger has grown from a lone Corpus Christi burger stand to a thriving family of more than 750 locations across 10 states. In addition to lunch and dinner, the restaurants' 24/7 hours and fully fledged breakfast menu have made them popular destinations for early morning and late-night dining.
Besides the classic Whataburger, the modern menu includes options such as the jalapeno and cheese Whataburger, the Whatachick'n sandwich, and the Whataburger Jr., which is a regular Whataburger that doesn't know how to tie a tie. The breakfast selections remain rooted in hearty Texas tradition, with crispy honey butter chicken served atop biscuits and taquitos stuffed with scrambled eggs.
Since 1957, the dog doyens at Lyric Hot Dogs & Grill have sated nostalgic cravings with a menu bustling with perfectly grilled eats. Dining duos salivate over a quartet of flame-kissed dogs resting beside two small helpings of crisp, golden potato spears. Gobblers can choose between a classic bun-filler dressed in a choice of traditional toppings, or indulge in the grill’s specialty—a chili dog smothered in mustard, pickles, onions, and homemade chili.
Jumpstart dinner with an order of Mrs. Lovett's meat pies, pastry rounds packed with onion, rosemary, and minced roast beef ($4.25). Traditionalists sup on hearty plates such as bangers and mash (roasted sausage stacked atop mashed potatoes and smothered with red-wine gravy and onions, $11.50) or boxtey (potato balls mixed with Dubliner cheese and Black Forest ham, $10.50). Vegetarians can opt for the banshee, a grilled portabella cap topped with cheddar and served on a yeast bun with chips ($9.75). Guzzle a chocolate Guinness milkshake ($6.50) for dessert.
Offering more than 30 healthy handheld eats prepared with super-fresh produce and high-quality ingredients, Roly Poly’s menu has something to fit any discerning taste. Lunch on tongue-torpedoing sandwiches rolled in tortillas, hot-pressed panini-like sandwiches, soups, and fresh salads. Sandwiches, such as a cold Cobb chicken salad roll, chicken Caesar roll, or hot-pressed hickory chicken, are served in 6” or 12” varieties (usually $3.75/$5.95). The hot-pressed French Twist with melted brie and swiss cheese, mushrooms, tomato, spinach, and scallions ($3.50/$5.50) soothes any veggie lover's grumbling food sack.
Local meats, fresh veggies, and imported spices enhance the traditional Thai and Japanese food at Surin of Thailand. Chefs manipulate yellow, red, and green curry dishes with splashes of coconut milk, citrus juice, or peanuts, and they marinate select meats overnight before slow-roasting them until they’re tender enough to fall apart when looked at. To ensure a sushi menu that’s just as authentic as the Thai dishes, many of the restaurant’s chefs train in Japan under the tutelage of sushi masters. The result is a menu of more than 20 varieties of sushi and nigiri, many of which feature pan-Asian flourishes such as plum sauce and drizzles of panang curry.
Owner Tomek Wrzesien set out to create his own gallery in the renovated office space that now houses Urban Standard, but he soon drew inspiration from the café culture of his native Poland and instead met the neighborhood's need for eclectic deli fare, freshly baked goods, and boutique beverages. Breakfast offers a variety of old-world eats in addition to down-home staples such as creamy grits with sausage and cheese ($3). Share a stylish luncheon of salads, sandwiches, or grilled paninis with fancy-pants ingredients such as truffle oil, balsamic jam, and homemade pimento cheese. Carnivores can sink canines into Tomek's Polish Street Sandwich, a cavalcade of cured meats and cheese on ciabatta (half $5.50, whole $8.75), whereas vegetarians can rustle up a grilled marinated-tofu sandwich ($7.50) with a small roasted-fennel and goat-cheese salad ($4.50). If a whole meal seems too daunting, sophisticated snackers can adjust their pince-nez while sampling from a list of baked goods that would make Marie Antoinette blush.