Rifle through the pages of the menu at Nirvana Cafe, and you'll see dishes inspired by cuisines from across the globe—there's tender gyros and kebabs from the Mediterranean, plump perogi from Eastern Europe, and tangy Korean-style carrot salad. But there's also a variety of American favorites, such as chicken salad wraps and creamy new york cheesecake. As chefs bring these dishes to life in the kitchen, diners lounge on banquettes amid the bold red walls of the bright dining room, sipping freshly squeezed juices and imported Russian beers.
Sippers Coffeehouse's friendly baristas brew hot, iced, and blended concoctions with locally roasted arabica coffee. Steamed milk or soymilk and espresso whirl together to create macchiatos as well as hot or iced lattes in flavors such as almond, raspberry cheesecake, and white-chocolate peppermint topped with snowcaps of whipped cream. Blended drinks send energizing chills down guests' spines, while guests limiting caffeine intake may opt for chai lattes and hot chocolate to keep insides as warm and tranquil as a slumbering bunsen burner. Coffee lovers can keep it simple with a medium-size freshly brewed Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee or enliven their taste buds with the rotating flavor of the day. Posters and local art cling to turquoise, cobalt, and warm violet walls as guests surf free WiFi and lounge on a hodgepodge of bright pink club chairs, plush couches, and tables. Natural light streams into the coffee shop as drink orders are taken through a drive-thru window for tired mine carts on the go.
Named for gangsters and criminals such as John Gotti, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde, Wise Guys Pizza Cafe's slate of deli-style sandwiches arrest hunger with fillings such as roast beef and cheddar, tuna salad, turkey, and meatballs. Chefs also hand-toss New York-style pizza crusts, topping pies with such ingredients as bacon, black olives, and pepperoni. Burgers, wings, and stromboli round out the menu, and calzones hide ingredients inside gooey pockets of ricotta cheese, where they are eventually uncovered by forks that have become FBI informants.
After testing out his recipes at a few local and state fairs, French Fry Heaven’s founder, Scott Nelowet, decided to give the people what they wanted: delicious fried russet and sweet potatoes customizable with gourmet toppings. Classic fries, known as Angels, come in set combos such as Dutch Angels with mayo, or Baked Tater Angels with cheese, bacon, and chives. Sweet-potato fries, known as Saints, come in combos such as Breakfast Saint with maple syrup or Kenberry Saint with blueberry and vanilla.
Cyclones Tex Mex Cantina entwines Mexican cuisine with flavors of the Lone Star state with a menu of traditional burritos, fajitas, and tacos, spiced up with spreads of charbroiled chicken and bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp. Food ferriers walk through brick archways balancing platters of handmade chicken or pork tamales ($9), presenting them to diners lounging in comfy green booths. The Camarones Mazatlan sees six jumbo shrimp marinated in garlic and butter, then skewered on a lance by a miniature knight and brought to the table with tomato slices and avocado ($13). The Tacos Gringos enfold a vegetarian mix of beans, cheese, tomatoes, and guac ($8), while a sweet duet of flan ($4) and Texas Oil mud pie ($5) fill out the menu’s desserts section. Barflies can perch or headstand on stools at a corrugated-tin counter and lick the salt from Cyclones Tex Mex Cantina’s specialty margaritas.
The Spice & Tea Exchange treats taste buds and olfactory sensors to a smorgasbord of hand-mixed seasoning blends and gourmet steepables. Freshly bagged daily, custom-concocted blends and rubs, such as the Moroccan blend or the tandoori seasoning, enliven dull dishes with worldly flavors. Massage Butcher's Rub ($4.29–$16.80) into steaks, burgers, and stressed-out cows prior to grilling for extra-zesty grub, or sprinkle it upon vegetables to confuse carnivores into eating greens. More than 170 spices create piquant provisions sure to tantalize taste buds, including beer powder, a nonalcoholic dehydrated version of the popular brew ($4.89–$19.17), or Dutched cocoa, a mellow chocolate suitable for sprucing up warm beverages or supplying and army of microscopic confectioners ($3.89–$15.25). Sprinkle maple syrup granules ($4.29–$16.82) onto ice cream, fruit salad, or other sweet treats to enhance saccharine delights with a hint of nature.