Since 1950, the family-owned Whataburger has served up its iconic burgers and fresh, made-to-order meals with a commitment to excellent customer service. Now headquartered in San Antonio, Whataburger has grown from a lone Corpus Christi burger stand to a thriving family of more than 750 locations across 10 states. In addition to lunch and dinner, the restaurants' 24/7 hours and fully fledged breakfast menu have made them popular destinations for early morning and late-night dining.
Besides the classic Whataburger, the modern menu includes options such as the jalapeno and cheese Whataburger, the Whatachick'n sandwich, and the Whataburger Jr., which is a regular Whataburger that doesn't know how to tie a tie. The breakfast selections remain rooted in hearty Texas tradition, with crispy honey butter chicken served atop biscuits and taquitos stuffed with scrambled eggs.
Pitmaster Paul "Big Daddy" Woodard won the the award for Best Ribs in the First Annual Alabama BBQ Cook-off and Festival in 2012, just like he won the Birmingham News's Best Ribs contest in 2008. But long before he started winning awards—long before he even opened his restaurant—Woodard was picking up fans around town with his succulent, flavorful grilled meats. That's because he shared his grilling expertise at family reunions, functions for the Woodland Park Church of Christ, and other events, and word began to spread.
The ribs at Big Daddy's Bar-B-Q might be locally famous, but there's much more on the eatery's menu worth tasting. Chopped barbecue chicken, fried catfish, and polish sausages also sizzle in the kitchen, and sides such as signature fried corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese or freshly cooked collard greens round things out. A rotating list of from-scratch desserts tempt palates after main courses. Try a wedge of peanut-butter pie or a helping of banana pudding.
The town of Brookside owns Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company, which works from a philosophy that nature is a splendor to be shared by all people. Five Mile not only grants access to a bonanza of camping and canoeing activities—such as bench pressing a canoe—it gives patrons the opportunity to control their own adventures. The campground presents enough activity opportunities to keep patrons busy throughout the day, including a playground, a 2-mile walking track, and a swimming hole.
When patrons want to set out on watery expeditions, they carry their own boats down to the creek and steer their vessels from beginning to end. After pushing past the shallow waters, canoes paddlers can traverse up to 26 miles of gently flowing creek lined on either side by a row of trees. These leaf havens obscure guests from the curious eyes of civilization, chipmunks, and Bigfoot's cousin, Steve. Before they hit the water, helpful staff members can give demonstrations to those with little paddling experience. They can also organize group floats for social paddlers.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Plucking their name from the American Indian nickname for the Cahaba River’s swampy banks, Mudtown’s owners and staff strive to embody their neighborhood, serving a menu of dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced seafood, meat, and produce. In their intimate dining room, they cloak tables with hearty portions of new york strip steak with bacon mashed potatoes, grilled mahi mahi with fried green tomatoes, and Cajun po' boys with shrimp or catfish. Their bartenders liven up the southern-inspired American cuisine by shaking signature cocktails, such as their lemon-lime-drop martini, into glasses and pocket protectors. The staff also delivers meals through a catering service for special events such as corporate lunches and birthday parties.
At each Tropical Smoothie Cafe location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The café’s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic açaí and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.