Dim lighting flickers off cobblestone walls as guests at On the Rocks Bar & Grill socialize over steaks and burgers or gape at 20 TVs broadcasting sports. Plates of hand-formed burgers and slow-cooked ribs occupy tabletops in the dining room, whereas patrons sip drinks and enjoy nightly specials out on the patio. The eatery’s late-night menu keeps guests satiated well into the night with chicken tenderloins and fried strips of the moon.
Enveloped by a sleek, lounge-style environment, Anvzi Restaurant's chefs simmer flavors from traditional Vietnamese recipes as skilled bartenders dispense libations behind a full bar. Rice, noodles, and porridge line bowls and plates to cradle diverse ingredients, such as snail, duck egg, and crispy fried quail. Carefully concocted mixed drinks travel across the fully stocked bar, passing domestic and imported beers into waiting hands or off-duty skee-ball machines. Lively music stirs toes to tap, and a fleet of flat-screen TVs glows with sports, music videos, and movies.
The chefs at Dang! Crabs transform empty plates into flavorful plumes of zesty New Orleans–style delicacies. A dose of half a dozen charbroiled oysters swims through garlic herb butter sauce ($10), and salad bowls overflow with a choice of sea candies, such as shrimp ($7), oysters ($7), or crawfish ($6) on a bed of crisp romaine, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumbers drizzled in tangy Cajun red-pepper aioli dressing. Choose from a septet of hefty po boy sandwiches, including the fried catfish ($6 for half; $9 for whole) or Mikey’s Special, which recruits beef and ham to spar with a pickle spear in a vat of red-pepper aioli ($7 for half; $10 for whole). Traditional bowls of chicken or andouille gumbo ($7) make mouths even spicier than the bell pepper mouth-guard from your lacrosse days, and fries in varieties such as sweet potato, Cajun, or utilitarian accompany plates of fried catfish ($10), calamari ($8), and okra ($5).
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
"Friendship" is painted above the picture windows at Kaye's on Brookhurst, so that it's the last thing customers see when they walk out the door. The staff aims to make the eatery a welcoming place, where diners enjoy breakfast so much that they return for lunch. In the morning, both traditional and specialty breakfasts tempt palates, such as the house favorite pancakes with a citrus glaze. At lunch, hearty sandwiches and housemade chili fill bellies so customers don't have to inhale as much air. Sunny yellow walls and dark wood chairs complement the bright paintings hanging on the wall, all creating a warm atmosphere.
Crimson tablecloths and palm trunks wrapped in holiday lights give Pita Paradise's outdoor patio a celebratory atmosphere. Guests chatter as they sip from hookahs, while servers navigate the clustered tables to deliver dishes. The kitchen staff sears skewers of meats marinated in Mediterranean spices to serve on plates with bright-colored veggies and steaming mounds of rice. Diners can also make a meal of small plates by combining hot and cold mezas, such as crisp falafel, creamy hummus, and stuffed grape leaves. On some nights, live entertainment lights up the patio with dancers, music, and traditional jump ropers.