Tom Engel burst onto the culinary scene in 1977 when he opened Richards Cafe and Little Richards. Now, in his eponymous house of barbecue, he draws on more than 30 years of culinary experience to roast brisket, chicken, and carolina pork shoulder, drawing out their natural flavors with one of nine sauces. These savory potions—which range from sweet and mild to spicy to Cheerwine sauce—sizzle on the grill, punching up a menu that overflows with homestyle treats such as hush puppies, meaty barbecue baked potatoes, and saucy ribs. Tom's BBQ also deliver catered Southern feasts to parties, special events, and straw houses to send their residents a stern message.
Owner Lazaro Montoto maintains a healthy diet, and doesn't believe in sacrificing flavor to do so. That's why he opened Tropical Grille as an alternative to the nation’s preponderance of greasy fast-food dives. Natural light pours from wall-length windows onto his steaming grill, where the smell of sizzling chicken and steamed veggies mingle with the aromatic release of Lazaro's flavor-packed spice rubs. He puts those blends to good use; in addition to spicing up the grill, they also infuse his signature pork, which marinates for 12 hours before taking a trip to the slow-roaster for inclusion in thick sandwiches and hearty wraps.
The Cazbah serves up traditional American and Asian-inspired small plates along with a carefully curated list of wines. Housed in a former feed-and-seed store, it features a chic industrial design with tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a rooftop bar that allows guests to enjoy dinner with a view. The Cazbah furnishes those dinners with a menu of between 30 and 35 rotating tapas, including grilled seafood, veggie dips, and comfort-food staples. The wine list is equally varied, making it easy to find pairings for all types of cuisine.
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.
Sonic boasts a hunger-obliterating menu of burgers, coneys, shakes, and more—all delivered straight to your road vessel by graceful roller-skating carhops. Settle burger-craving stomachs with a supersonic cheeseburger ($4.64), or craft a creative meal out of sides such as chili-cheese tots ($2.69), the cheesy jalapeño poppers ($3.23), and onion rings ($2.50/large), which, like engagement rings, symbolize love and taste better when dipped in ketchup. If crumb-covered palates need a cleansing, swallow a Sonic signature limeade ($1.50/medium) or a slush ($1.50/medium) in any combo of classic flavors, such as cherry, grape, watermelon, or orange. Once eaters have ordered, the all-American feast will arrive balanced atop the head of a roller-butler. Customers are welcome to feast right there in their cars or savor their selections on Sonic's outdoor patio.