The chefs at Desiderio Italian-American Grill hand-roll meatballs, sprinkle spices into the house marina, and fill plates with ravioli shells. They craft every dish using the family recipes of owners Rick Marrero and Victor Rodriguez, creating ricotta cheesecake and Grandma Joanie's meatballs, which blend veal, pork, and beef. What isn't crafted in-house is still handmade—the cannolis arrive fresh from Artuso Pastry, a bakery in the Little Italy neighborhood of the Bronx. The restaurant's dining space extends to an outdoor patio, which shades patrons with an awning, trees, and a cumulus cloud tethered to the roof.
Washington, D.C. classic-rock station BIG 100.3 FM smuggles arena legends and Midwestern heroes Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent into the great outdoors of Jiffy Lube Live with an inestimable cargo of sing-along classics. Styx has sparked the third rail since 1972 with prog-rock sensationalism, bolstering lighter-fluid epics such as "Come Sail Away" and "Babe" with complex riffs from crystalline synthesizers intertwined with power-chord crescendos and noodling from guitar giant Tommy Shaw. With founding front man and falsetto specialist Kevin Cronin at the helm, fellow Prairie State juggernaut REO Speedwagon fills the stage with passionate chartbusters that made waterbed salesmen rich, from romantic ballads such as “Keep On Loving You" to the spurned-lover kiss-off "Take It on the Run." Kicking off the show, "Motor City Madman" and expert game hunter Ted Nugent revs his buzzsaw guitar through toothy classics such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold," all while protecting the audience from wild boars.
Traditional pubs served as community hubs, places to see neighborhood folks and combine the flow of information with the flow of taps. Finnegan's Irish Pub aims to recreate that same setting for a modern audience, serving friendly sandwiches, burgers, and Irish entrees with plenty of beer.
Rather than depending on word of mouth for their stream of news, the pub's staff instead bedecks the dining room with flat-screen televisions and projectors. Outside, a television screens bathe the patio in its technicolor light. And some of the indoor booths come with their very own TVs, ideal for quietly feeding your curling addiction while pretending to care about football.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
From the long wooden bar at Mackey's American Pub, you can catch a sporting event, some karaoke, or even live music. But even without these draws, crowds would come simply for the pub eats: ribeye steaks glazed in bourbon, crab cake dinners, and burgers served with sauteed mushrooms on a bagel bun. Smoking is allowed on the first floor, though the second-floor stays smoke-free.
Executive chef Juan Carlos Balderrama brings a career of more than 20 years to his post at Coyote Grille. His creative Tex-Mex menu items fill plates with garlic-marinated shrimp and hints of chipotle, and they also include special menu items for children as well as many gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options. The Centreville location also offers a specialty Southwest Tapas menu and Sunday brunch.