The sports-centric atmosphere at The Mulligan’s Pub lures big game-revelers with sports-beaming TVs and a menu of classic grill favorites. Kick off an ocular sports feast with appetizers such as homemade fried pickles battered, fried, and shot out of a T-shirt cannon onto plates ($6). The nurturing hoosier strom coddles ground beef, pepperoni, and saucy Italian marinara inside a doughy sleeping bag ($7), and juicy prime-rib sandwiches travel mouthward via hoagie-roll palanquin ($9). The Mr. October, a lemon-pepper-rubbed haddock hoagie, transforms stomach rumblings into nearly inaudible whimpers and takes its name from the famed inventor of Halloween ($9). Before going toe-to-toe with hearty entrees, and after thumb-wrestling with to-go boxes for possession of leftovers, patrons tipple draft brews from a collection of 16 domestic beers.
During World War I, Greek immigrant Louis Pappas served in the Army as a personal chef to General John Pershing. To give the hungry general some extra nutrition, Louis began adding scoops of potato salad to his traditional greek salads. When Louis returned to the United States, he opened up his own restaurant, Louis Pappas Riverside Café, where he would re-create this signature dish using fresh produce from his own ranch in Tarpon Springs.
Today, Louis Pappas's grandson continues his grandfather's old Florida family tradition at Pappas Ranch. There, he and his kitchen serve up a new menu of fresh seafood, poultry, sandwiches, street tacos, hand-cut steaks, and barbecue dishes whose "family flair" has been lauded by Metromix Tampa Bay. They continue to scoop savory housemade potato salad into their internationally renowned Louis Pappas Famous greek salad, tossing it in massive bowls that serve as many as four diners. Bartenders dole out glasses of locally brewed craft beers and wine or mix cocktails and martinis at the full center bar with flat-screen TVs.
The restaurant's decor channels that of the original Pappas family ranch. In the dining room, spacious booths are surrounded by rustic wooden walls, and outside is a covered outdoor patio.
As a server lifts the lid off a diner's straw-woven mesob basket, waves of ginger, garlic, cardamom, nutmeg, and fiery pepper aromas waft across the table. Instead of using utensils, guests scoop simmered vegetables and stewed meats off the family-style platter with spongy pieces of homemade injera bread. While this ritual remains the same for all Ethiopian meals, diners can customize the experience by ordering mildly spiced servings or tongue-scorching entrees, which teach disobedient taste buds a lesson they won't soon forget. In addition to orders of free-range chicken, lamb, and beef, the chefs can whip up vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dishes by simmering lentils or root vegetables in the region's signature spice blends.
Sunlight streams through the dining room's gauzy white curtains and illuminates the orange, plaster-textured walls. Occasionally, the restaurant hosts live reggae performances, and its gift shop helps visitors replace their pantries' stock of expired powdered astronaut meals with Ethiopian spices and coffees.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
Urban Cantina’s chefs create a big menu packed with Mexican favorites. From popular dishes such as the super chimichangas and urban carnitas to crispy roasted pork served with a guacamole salad, tortillas, and rice and beans, their food underscores the staff's commitment to freshness. The team also folds authentic Mexican tacos such as shrimp or fish tacos and al pastor or crunchy tinga tacos with chipotle-marinated chicken. For a lighter meal, the chefs create “skinny” options such as salads, tacos with grilled chicken and low-fat corn tortillas, plus naked fajitas that come with no tortillas, no pants, and no shame.
Black-and-white portraits of Sophia Loren stare down at diners as sunlight bounces off the mirrors lining one wall of Gio's Italian Restaurant. After inspecting wine bottles lined up against the wall or arm-wrestling a date to determine who gets the tallest chair, guests can dig into sautéed fish or chicken, fresh salads, or Italian classics such as penne alla vodka.