Cook's Place styles hot dogs with flare inside a dining space steeped in 1950s nostalgia and decorated with old 45s and neon lights. The iconic scrambled dog presents two chopped red hots slathered with beanless chili, onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup, and oyster crackers ($3.75), and the naked dog ($1.25) resists bread-induced claustrophobia. Those looking to stray from encased offerings may shovel third-pounder grilled burgers ($3.25) or chicken-salad sandwiches ($1.49) into throat canals, and toss in onion ring ($1.49) lifesavers. Hand-spun shakes are served thick, like an entire set of children's encyclopedias nailed together ($2.50).
Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
After praising J.R. Crickets' chicken wings, karaoke shindigs, and live music, Metromix went on to declare the late-night-dining destination a place where "[m]odern chic and good times meet." J.R. Crickets' culinary crew lightly fries or grills seafood, slathers baby back ribs in sauce, and carefully calibrates wings to three levels of spiciness. Diners can opt to take feasts to-go or kick back in the eatery, where TVs and live DJs forge an atmosphere as high-spirited as a haunted mountaintop.
Thai Heaven enraptures palates with a plentiful menu of authentic dishes served in a stylish, exotic setting. Color-coordinate outfits with traditional specialties such as green curry—a spicy concoction of bell peppers, green beans, basil leaves, and bamboo strips—and mild yellow curry, with potatoes and onions ($7.74+ lunch, $10.50+ dinner). The drunken noodle entree—rice noodles fried and stirred with jalapeños, onions, bell peppers, and sweet basil—weaves enticingly around the room before stumbling headfirst into diners’ mouths ($7.74+ lunch, $10.50+ dinner). Thai Heaven's Virginia Avenue location complements cooked fare with a wide-ranging sushi menu, allowing mouths to house fishy inhabitants such as the Super Crunch, tempura topped with smoked salmon and eel sauce ($8.50), the spicy tuna roll ($8.50), or pieces of nigiri and sashimi ($3.95–$6).
The Bagel Meister satisfies insistent stomachs by boasting fresh-baked bread, homemade cream cheeses, and filler-free meats throughout its modest menu. Exploring new avenues in bagel architecture, stacking buffs sling bagel breakfast sandwiches, including lox and egg with piquant trimmings ($4.09).
McAlister's Deli's kitchen craftspeople concoct sandwiches, salads, and loaded potatoes from fresh ingredients and artisan breads, creating meals that earned them a spot on the 2009 10 Best Fast-Casual Restaurants list by Parents magazine. Rather than braving a home kitchen's gauntlet of hanging knives and mayonnaise slicks, pick up a gameday pack that includes an assortment of deli sandwiches with roast beef, turkey, or ham with cheese on fresh-baked breads. Dip a combination of chocolate-chip, oatmeal-raisin, and white-chocolate-macadamia cookies in tall glasses of home-brewed sweet tea made from rainforest-certified black tea and pure sugar, or opt for the unsweetened variety.