Tina says her restaurant is her second home, a feeling that grew during the days when she ran the entire kitchen alone and worked to make every guest feel like they "had been invited to her home for a dinner party," according to azcentral.com in 2007. For each platter of food set before her houseguests, Tina draws culinary inspiration from her childhood in Ethiopia, using sense memory to season simmering pots of lentils, grilled beef, and herb-crusted chicken. Instead of silverware or miniature loading cranes, Tina serves each meal with an accompanying basket of traditional injera, a tasty, spongy Ethiopian bread that allows diners to scoop out each sauce-laden bite without the need for silver-, gold-, or bronze-ware.
When Brad and Marcy Olsen opened Thrive Acai Bowls & Smoothies back in 2011, they envisioned a space that would focus on all aspects of healthy living—somewhere you could eat healthy foods and minimally processed supplements amid an active community of like-minded health professionals and businesses.
Acai—dark purple berries that are rich in antioxidants—are the foundation of Thrive Acai Bowls & Smoothies' main product, acai bowls. Each bowl contains a blend of frozen acai and other antioxidant-rich fruits, topped with granola and fresh fruit with a drizzle of honey. But what the bowls don’t contain is equally important: All acai bowls are dairy-free and can be made without gluten. They also contain no added refined sugars or highly processed nightmares. Thrive Acai Bowls & Smoothies also promotes healthy living with its selection of whole-food supplements. These can help raise the body’s antioxidant levels, which in turn may slow down the damage of cells by free radicals.
The cooks at GiGi's Cafe call their cuisine soul food––and that's true if your soul happens to crave tender beef or pork ribs slathered in housemade hot or mild barbecue sauce, fresh-baked desserts like sweet potato pie, or Broaster chicken, a less greasy alternative to fried chicken. Of course, it's hard to imagine any entity––celestial or otherwise––turning down succulent pulled pork or chicken or neatly cut squares of baked mac & cheese or fresh-cooked corn on the cob. When it comes to universal crowd pleasers, though, the real winner might be GiGi's impressive triple-decker chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, a slice of which makes an especially fitting ending to a decadent meal or a bad first date with a personal trainer.
Yupha Dequenne once worked at a bank, but spent her days dreaming of opening her own restaurant. She eventually left behind her corporate career for one in the kitchen, whipping up the fare of her native Thailand. What resulted was Yupha’s Thai Kitchen, where diners have flocked for more than five years for favorites such as pad thai, chicken curry puffs, and ped gang daeng, crispy roasted duck flavored with coconut milk, red curry, and pineapple. Some of the dishes are modified versions of Thai classics—Metromix notes that the restaurant "claims to be about 90 percent authentic Thai"—and this is because Dequenne tweaked her recipes to please American palates, which mostly just want hamburgers.
Chill administers cooling doses of icy treats, as well as refreshing smoothies, milkshakes, coke floats, and hot chocolate. The menu yields a wide lineup of soft-serve sizes in low-fat chocolate and fresh fruit flavors ($1.99–$9.49), and gelato, soy gelato, and fruit sorbet in a hatful of flavors, such as Nutella, rocky road, pistachio, and more ($2.39–$11.49). Task mouths with targeting the establishment’s pride-and-joy concoction, the tart-sweet Chill-Beri frozen yogurt. Cow boycotters can spoon up its dairy-free alternatives and more in frozen soy or the hybrid treat Soyoflo ($1.39–$9.49). Complementing any palate, the store’s brightly polka-dotted banquettes allow customers to relax and savor the life-changing moment when dashing frozen flavors propose to enchanted tongues.
Named after the friendly, casual eateries of India's Punjab province, The Dhaba explores the rich flavors of South Asia, including influences from Iran and Afghanistan. Guided by knowledgeable servers and a vast menu, guests embark upon tasting treks that highlight fresh, seasonal soups and snacks inspired by streetside food carts and rickshaws fashioned from giant samosas. Halal meats such as chicken, goat, and lamb marinate in flavorful curries before basking in tandoori clay ovens, and a hearty lineup of meat-free entrees lures vegetarians with spinach dumplings, paneer, and spiced chickpeas. Instead of hibernating in a rock-candy cave, sweet teeth flock toward gulab jamun, a traditional fudge made with carrots, cashews, milk, and raisins.