The meaty aromas of slow-smoked ribs and tender beef waft from Smokey’s kitchens, where piles of barbecued proteins simmer over seasoned hickory and sweet cherry. With no gas lines needed to fuel the wood-fire grills, the restaurant’s pipes are reserved for pumping spicy sauces onto full slabs of spare ribs ($17.50) and signature barbecue sandwiches topped with slaw and carolina mustard ($3.49–$6.19) along with other menu dishes. Reel in a savory slice of The Big Muddy with the catfish dinner ($7.99), a generous portion served with Texas toast, a salad, and a choice of two sides such as baked beans and honey-apple cornbread. A host of hearty breakfast options awaits early morning patrons, headlined by the Legendary Stack ($6.49), a savory skyscraper of hash browns, meat, and eggs on an architecturally dubious foundation of biscuit or toast.
Known for growing cotton and soybeans, many farms in the South known now nurture a new crop—catfish. Converting their fields to ponds, farmers raise the whiskered fish on an all-grain diet to develop meat with a clean, slightly sweet taste and reduced cholesterol. Every filet at Jumpin' Catfish Restaurant comes from this stock, which the chefs prepare in various ways: breaded and fried in the Southern tradition, marinated in lemon and pepper, or dusted with cajun spices, like the mayor of New Orleans after their morning bath. They then pair the plump, juicy filets with sides such as hushpuppies and white beans with ham.
The chefs extend their culinary skills to other seafood as well, from Norwegian salmon to Alaskan snow-crab legs. They also work with wild game such as quail and frog legs, and prepare Southern fare, such as fried chicken.
My Big Fat Greek Restaurant's spirited staff slings authentic Greek fare into diners' maws from a wide-ranging menu. Diners prime bellies with shareable eats such as the flaming saganaki, which, like aging heavy-metal stars’ concerts, captivate audiences with flames and fancy cheese. Entrees such as the award-winning gyro corral rotisserie beef and lamb into a taste-bud-taming pita bed, and the vegetarian eggplant-laden mousaka arrives at tables with an entourage of potatoes and ground beef slathered in a creamy béchamel sauce. After dinner, traditional baklava or double-fudge chocolate serves to negotiate the release of hostages from sweets-demanding molars.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
Pho 2's chefs send taste buds on a tour of Southeast Asia charted by a menu of family recipes hailing from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Diners can start meals by sharing fresh spring rolls, ladling cups of spicy tom yum soup, or conducting blindfolded taste tests with papaya salad prepared either Thai-style or Laos-style. A rainbow of red, green, and yellow curries decorates tables alongside noodle dishes such as pad thai. Vietnamese coffee and thai iced tea sweeten palates, and, on weekends, Pho 2's chefs re-create authentic Southeast Asian desserts.
Zonkers enchants youngsters and guardians alike with its gargantuan indoor amusement park and arcade. Rides abound, including the Python Pit roller coaster and the Banana Squadron—a fleet of small, controllable planes in the shape of bananas, just like Pan Am’s aircraft in the 1970s. The bustling activity center makes a fun destination for field trips and birthday parties.