When Chef Sam Donehue bought the Kaullen Mercantile Company building, he was amazed at how many architectural flourishes remained intact from its original 19th-century incarnation. A scrolled iron balcony and fluted iron columns graced the 10,000-square foot facility, evoking the German Vernacular style as tastefully as the foyer’s countless still-life paintings of schnitzel. Chef Donehue opted to restore many of the other details, from the dining room’s cross-sawed red oak floors to the elegant gallery porch. With these renovations, O’Donoghue’s Steaks and Sea Food was born.
Today, Chef Donehue complements his restaurant’s classical décor with old-fashioned—yet ever-delicious—steaks and seafood entrees. Drawing upon 25 years of culinary experience, he crafts mouthwatering Kansas City strip steaks and grilled tilapia. His salads come with a choice of six house-made dressings, including sweet poppy seed and spicy honey jalapeño.
The Alli's Family Restaurant building has been refilling tanks along Historic Route 66 for 80 years. It began as a gas station, but then took on the mantle of restaurant and has never looked back or at the sun. The eatery's Facebook page contains sneak peeks from the full menu and includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Chicken-fried chicken and its menu companions are hearty enough to sustain patrons on road trips, whether their road trips are from Chicago to LA or the result of a stick in the middle of the highway.
The chefs at Cartoons Oyster Bar & Grill create an eclectic, seafood-centric menu of sandwiches, pastas, and ocean-caught specialties. Entrees include cajun gumbo or jambalaya and sample seafood platters are loaded with cod fillets, scallops, fried shrimp, and clam strips. On the weekends, local bands take to the bar's stage to belt out original songs and read their middle-school diaries aloud.
There's no buffet at Tokyo Grill, a pan-Asian eatery that opened late in the summer of 2013. That's a good thing for diners; it means that instead of having to pick over trays of slowly souring food, patrons can enjoy delicacies made fresh to order. Meals range from general tso's chicken to sushi and hibachi cuisine. Most entrees are served with fried or steamed rice and bowls of hot soup.
The chefs at Asia Express know their way around the wok as well as the soup pot, serving up stir-fried Chinese specialties and simmered Vietnamese soups. Fried rice accompanies dishes such as sesame chicken and spicy kung pao chicken, while bean sprouts, basil, and lime garnish steaming bowls of pho.
The cooks at Maru Sushi & Grill prepare pan-Asian feasts such as Springfield-style cashew chicken, drawing from the cuisine of Japan, China, Thailand, and beyond. Diners clasp sushi rolls loaded with crab, lobster, and mango, which, according to News-Leader.com, are served on a "cast-iron plate that sits atop flames." The sushi and sashimi at Maru is present with beautiful combinations of texture and design. Patrons wash down meals with a selection of drinks that includes Japanese beers, sake, and soju.