Executive Chef Matt Higgins concocts elegant interpretations of rustic Italian dishes to fill a menu that has earned praise from the New York Times for its fresh ingredients and playful flavor combinations. Toast an anniversary, birthday, or a Little League World Series title with a decadent dinner, starting with a savory saffron risotto infused with sage, pancetta, and a sprinkling of parmigiano reggianno ($12). Filet mignon dons a dapper suit of peppercorns as it lounges in a shallow brandy-cream river alongside fingerling-potato gondolas and bobbing roasted figs ($34). Plunge tines into a shrimp-and-scallop feast, laden with olives and grape tomatoes atop a creamy risotto ($28), or catapult tongues through clouds of gnocchi suspended in an eggplant-and-mozzarella-strewn sunset ($22).
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and boasts more than 38,000 locations around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Subway’s website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutritional information online.
When visiting a frozen yogurt shop, one is typically prepared to encounter blinding, fruit-colored paint and undersized furniture. But, though it contains the requisite row of self-serve machines and toppings bar, Bliss Yogurt Cafe instead plays more of a resemblance to an upscale downtown cafe. Wood accents and earth tones form the groundwork of the decor, accompanied by intimate tables and comfy couches. And, in addition to cups of frozen yogurt and ice cream dappled with fresh fruits and candies, guests can opt for milk shakes, real 100% real fruit smoothies, baked goods, and gourmet coffee drinks such as caffe latte, cappuccino, and hot and cold flavored coffee.
L'Acqua Ristorante’s co-owners and chefs, Francesco Ippoliti and Mario Esposito, have been crafting their menu of authentic Italian eats together since August 2011. The culinary team expertly prepares tilapia contadina, as well as meat dishes such as veal L'Acqua—veal scaloppini with prosciutto and eggplant in a sherry sauce—that diners can pair with BYOB sips.
Inside the restaurant, artwork decorates colorful teal walls that match teal tablecloths and Teal, the eatery’s resident ghost dog. Candles illuminate light-brown chairs clustered together for intimate dinners or set up to accommodate private parties of up to 100 guests.
At Coal, chefs stoke fiery coals inside the kitchen's pizza oven, which bakes the eatery's signature thin-crust pizzas at temperatures of up to 800 degrees. Pizzas emerge from the oven with a lightly charred, crispy crust and crowned with toppings such as meatballs, prosciutto, truffle oil, and caramelized onions. Coal also bakes its sandwiches in the pizza oven, including the saltimbocca Giorgio, with prosciutto and mozzarella on housemade bread, and roasts its chicken wings over the same glowing embers.
At Sofra Turkish Cuisine, chefs pepper dishes with classic Turkish spices that imbue thinly sliced gyro and char-grilled lamb with intense flavor. Skewered meats and veggies populate the menu, along with shareable plates of hummus, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves. Inside the dining room, mauve walls meet exposed bricks for a rustic edge. Linen-topped tables are bedecked with copper vases that, when rubbed, produce a genie to help cut up your meat.