The grill masters at Howie's Top Dog don't emulate Chicago-style hot dogs simply by piling on the city's trademark fixings. Once each frank is in its poppyseed bun, cooks add seven toppings in regimented order, starting with mild mustard and ending with a sprinkle of celery salt.
Even when they aren't crafting Chicago dogs, the cooks approach their other specialty franks with the same unwavering focus. They wrap dogs in deep-fried bacon or top them with mozzarella and marinara sauce, a less messy alternative to stuffing a pizza into a hot dog bun.
Howie's other specialties are also rooted in Chicago cuisine, such as Italian beef sandwiches topped with sweet or hot giardiniera. Charbroiled burgers, build-your-own salads, and "spuds", which are baked potatoes stuffed with veggies and melty cheese round out the eatery's hearty options.
Inside the brick oven at Texas Hold'Em BBQ, meats sizzle alongside whole bell peppers. There's a reason why the latter are called The Grilled Stuffed Bell Peppers Bluff—behind the vegetable exterior and under the blue-cheese crumbles lie hidden helpings of beef or pulled pork. The restaurant's menu carries its poker theme across meals such as the Nachos Two Pair and the All In sandwich, but its classic barbecue dinners have no need for a new name. Guests can order chicken, ribs, sausages, and brisket to pair with traditional sides, including baked beans and corn on the cob. At the bar, a catalog of craft beers from assorted breweries counterbalances saucy bites more refreshingly than iced glasses of more sauce. With TVs spread along the length of the bar and a penchant for private sports parties, Texas Hold'Em BBQ advocates for team spirit in addition to smoky roadhouse dining.
As football players catch passes on The Cage Bar & Grill's flat-screen TVs, diners take aim at the dartboard's bull's-eye and sink eight-balls into the billiard table's pockets. At a full liquor bar, bartenders keep 18 domestic and import beers on tap to enjoy during the game, which complement the chefs' expansive selection of pub classics. The culinary team whips up chili, fills hoagie rolls with housemade roast beef, and douses up to 100 wings in eight sauces, including teriyaki and Burning Tires Hot. Patrons flock to the bar and grill for special events such as auto racing, NBA games, college games, and all NFL games with NFL Sunday Ticket.
It takes four weeks for Lauderdale Grill's prime rib to age to the tenderness deemed best by their chefs. Then, after cooking onsite in hickory smoke, these succulent cuts are available by the 10 or 14 oz serving or as a sandwich on a grilled roll. The cooks here also plate up tuna, mahi mahi, and salmon, as well as bar food favorites such as wings and burgers. Tastier and more fun than a daily sock darning schedule, a daily soup schedule also holds a place in the menu, featuring chilis, chowders, and stews each only offered once a week. And happily for cocktail-lovers, the Broward/Palm Beach New Times raved about the spot's weekend bloody mary bar, calling the homemade mix used "outstanding."
Founded by a bodybuilding and fitness enthusiast, Muscle Maker Grill supplies nutritious, high-protein dishes that serve as a healthy alternative to traditional fast food. Guests can commence with a bowl of steamed edamame ($3.79) or shake hands with the buffalo wing's well-behaved younger brother, the texas chicken nuggets, served with fat-free sour cream and celery ($4.99). Grilled chicken breast and turkey bacon team up to fight hunger in the MMG wrap, backed by romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and a zero-carb signature sauce ($7.99). Pastafarians can peruse flavorful plates featuring whole-wheat penne (regular penne is also available), such as the sesame chicken teriyaki pasta ($9.99), whose noodles can double as straws for a protein shake ($5.99). The chefs at Muscle Maker Grill cater to many dietary designs and happily oblige when asked to substitute ingredients or improvise a musical skit.
It's hard to say what draws people to Southern Swank Kitchen more?its upscale yet down-home southern dishes or its atmosphere, which Urban Daddy described as "a modern-day saloon." There's definitely a case to be made for both.
Patrons peer into the restaurant's partial open kitchen, watching the team create elevated versions of traditional southern food, including chicken and waffles drizzled in a marshmallow-sage sauce, pork chops marinated in sweet tea, and their famous beer can chicken that was profiled on Cooking Channel's Road Trip With G. Garvin. All of these innovative takes don't negate classic favorites, though; diners can also find faithful renditions of fried green tomatoes and St.-Louis-style ribs. No matter the dish, chefs add distinct flavors using time-tested preparations, taking time to brine, pickle, and smoke their ingredients.
This blend of artisanal taste and traditional know-how extends to Southern Swank Kitchen's sleek bar. House-made spiked teas and lemonades share coaster time with bourbons and whiskeys mingled with fresh fruit juices and or infused with smoke. Sixteen draft beers arrive at a precise 36 degrees thanks to the bar's nitro cooling system.
Even considering the food and drink, there's no doubt that the atmosphere has its own particular allure. Rough-cut woods and burlap placemats mimic dinners around the farm's cookfire, while high ceilings and street art murals add a touch of citified artistry. Portraits bleed beyond the boundaries of their frames, and cartoon characters mingle with realistic faces against a distressed and stenciled background. A dozen flatscreen televisions also have a home in the restaurant, frequently flickering to life with classic Westerns and the latest sports games. There's even a oversized photo booth and a chalkboard wall next to it where guests can hang their snapshots.