During the day, the tables at Fireside Brewhouse might be packed with parents and children alike enjoying fried catfish, spicy pasta, thick burgers, and piles of sticky pork ribs. But at 10 p.m., the lights dim, three fire pits ignite, and the cars in the parking lot revert to their pumpkin forms, heralding the casual restaurant's transformation into a lounge for patrons aged 21 and older. At a 50-foot bar, tenders mix cocktails and pour more than 150 beers and wines, which complement the menu of American, Mexican, Italian, and Pacific-inspired dishes. On some nights, revelers join in karaoke or listen to a live band, while other nights find the beats of a house DJ inspiring feet to dance. Select evenings might also feature wine-and-painting workshops that let participants explore their artistic side in a social setting.
The first thing you want to do with a hot pizza is dig in, but if you're so inclined, go ahead and count the pepperoni first. Donatos promises that every pepperoni pizza, sized large or larger, will have at least 100 slices of lean pepperoni spread across the pie. That's just one of the many flourishes that Donatos, founded in 1963, has used to distinguish itself from the rest. There's also its Edge to Edge promise: a guarantee that every pie will be loaded from one end to the other with toppings, from said pepperoni slices to family-recipe sausage to fresh, hand-cut veggies. Donatos' formula seems to have worked, as the once small Italian eatery now spans the nation with more than 150 locations.
Beyond its classic pizzas, Donatos offers many specialty pies, including its chicken spinach mozzarella and Mariachi beef. Each is framed with naturally smoked, aged provolone cheese on top and cornmeal-encrusted dough, from a 50-year old recipe, below. Donatos even offers gluten-free pizzas on its signature Udi's crust. For those searching out other Italian fare, the menu features robust stromboli stuffed with meats and cheeses, and hearty subs. And for dessert, Donatos creates its warm cinnamon brick-street bread, an oven-baked loaf of artisan pull-apart bread with cinnamon spread, streusel, and vanilla icing.
Truelove is more than Paige's last name, it's what she found when she began creating cupcakes. When Paige first started baking them at the age of 15, it was only for friends and family as a way to honor the memory of her grandmother. But the more she whipped up the scrumptious desserts, the more she was hooked, and in the summer of 2013, she did something most teenagers only dream of, besides leading a sit-in to protest geometry?she opened her own business, Truly Lovely Cupcakes.
Paige's repertoire now incorporates more than 50 cupcake flavors. Options such as chocolate peanut butter sprinkled with mini chocolate chips and red velvet with cream-cheese frosting are always available, but each day of the week she also churns out day-specific flavors, such as carrot on Tuesday and chocolate salted caramel on Friday. Paige also creates specialty fundraiser cupcakes, which benefit local charities.
Four minutes. That's about how long it takes the 1,000 degree ovens at Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza to perfectly crisp each pie?s house-made crust without overcooking the sauce or toppings. To reach this volcanic temperature, the ovens are powered by pure anthracite coal from Pennsylvania, which burns hotter and cleaner than wood or old rags while lending a distinctive flavor to the pies.
The chefs add to this flavor by making fresh sauce daily from batches of Italian plum tomatoes and a closely guarded blend of extra virgin olive oil and spices. Every batch of dough is made using filtered water, and none of the menus' pizzas or sandwiches?made with wraps and flatbreads baked in the same ovens?is ever cooked with a microwave or fryer. Before any pie gets hit with heat, the chefs add as many as 19 different toppings, including bacon, roasted garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Every day, Ignacio Bravo opened up his lunch pail at work and the aroma of homemade Mexican food wafted through the air. ?Give me a little try,? his co-workers would beg, and he happily obliged. Soon, Ignacio?s wife was sending her husband to work with much more food than he could eat so the entire shift could fill up on her creations. At the encouragement of Ignacio?s coworkers, the Bravos opened their own Mexican restaurant, Lindo Mexico. Now, everyone can eat Irma Bravo?s fajitas, burritos, and cheesy enchiladas. She cooks chicken a dozen ways, including slathered in a housemade mole sauce, and prepares a special seafood platter that pairs tilapia simmered in garlic sauce with bacon-wrapped shrimp. Meals can be washed down with a chilled margarita or Mexican beer sold by the bottle or steel drum.
At DJ's Hot Dog Company, the rules for making the perfect hot dog are relatively simple. First, begin with a steamed all-beef hot dog made with custom, natural seasonings and absolutely no fillers. Second, use quality buns that never meet the inside of a freezer. The staff members rigorously adhere to these guidelines as they assemble specialty hot dogs inspired by cities across America. They also allow customers to design their own creations using any of the nearly 20 standard and premium toppings, including spicy mustard, bacon, and jalape?os. Beyond hot dogs, the menu spotlights American comfort foods such as brats, Angus burgers, and Chicago-style italian beef sandwiches.