Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
A selection of 40 themed rooms at the Hotel Pattee celebrates historical contributions to Midwestern life. Standard stayers can pass notes in the Alton School room or sleep under the stars and stripes of the marching-band room. A space celebrating Japanese culture is available to premiere guests, and the aura of Louis Armstrong resides in a New Orleans-inspired suite room. Personalized touches include a wood-burning fireplaces in select rooms and more than 130 pieces of original artwork. Active bodies can find a niche in the fitness center, which features cardio equipment and a hot tub, a sauna, and a steam room.
From its unexpected burger toppings to its funky decor, Oddfellow’s Burger Kitchen is chock-full of character. The all-American menu, which is festooned with cartoon Elvis silhouettes and a colorful hippie van, features quirky items, such as pasta dishes tossed in peanut butter and barbecue sauce, and starters including an “ice cold can” of PBR. And as the eatery's name suggests, the specialty here is burgers—15 of them to be exact—and despite the playful names and wacky topping combinations, the restaurant takes its creations seriously. Every day, the staff grinds its own beef in house, hand-forms each third-pound patty, and bakes fresh buns in order to build burgers such as The Ring of Fire, which packs the heat with hot sauce, jalapeños, and a Cajun spice rub. The Crabby burger features lump crab and garlic aioli, and the bacon-and-cheese-topped Oddfellow burger is sandwiched between housemade glazed donuts. Guests can substitute a grilled salmon breast, a grilled chicken breast, or a veggie burger, or add another beef patty for $3.
Ames British Foods was originally started to sate the comfort-food cravings of Iowa State’s expats, but it didn't take much time for owner Marcus to discover he had a native fan base as well. His new restaurant—The Chip Shop—serves up traditional fare from across the pond in a friendly setting that encourages relaxing over a plate of fish ’n’ chips or starting a game of cribbage. Customers can also shop Ames British Foods in downtown Ames for imported British biscuits, chocolate, and other UK-leaning groceries, and enjoy a free cup of tea offered by a friendly staff member or that overly friendly regular customer.
Inspired by trips to the state's northwestern lakes, Okoboji Grill conjures the wayfaring spirit of summer vacation with hearty American comfort food. Chefs marinate chicken strips in beer before hand-breading them in a secret blend of spices, crown crispy onion strings with Iowa-raised pork chops, and stack thin-sliced meats into towering club sandwiches and edible replicas of the Chrysler Building. Okoboji Grill also culls recipes from international cuisines, adding an American take to greek gyros, housemade tzatziki sauce, and italian bruschetta and pastas.
We offer coffee and espresso that is always roasted within 14 days of sale. The Vinyl Cafe has a large selection of vinyl records, smaller collection of tapes, cds and 8-tracks. Our pastries are baked fresh averyday. And we always offer free wi-fi.