When discussing CT's Grillin & Chillin's atmosphere with reporters from Metromix, founder Mike Fletcher explained, "I didn't call it a sports bar on purpose." Mike wanted his eatery to be something more than just a sports bar— a place where his son could perform music, where his daughter could work during summer break, and where family and friends could gather over classic American dishes. So while the 12 televisions are often aglow with the latest sports games, on other nights, the bar hosts live music, karaoke, and trivia nights. Servers hoist plates of hearty sandwiches and spicy wings from the kitchen, while bartenders dole out mixed drinks and pour glasses from their selection of more than 25 draft brews.
Neon beer signs cast a nostalgic glow across the dark-red walls of the cavernous dining rooms, illuminating the large booths and wooden tables. A spacious area in the front of the venue is equipped with microphones and speakers, creating an ideal stage for open-mic nights or public declarations that calculus is boring, no matter what popular opinion says.
In 1964, brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel banded together to come up with a new restaurant concept. Arby's took off almost immediately on the coattails of its hallmark roast-beef sandwich and the founders’ idea of providing customers with fast, quality food. Over the company's 48-year franchise history, its foundational pièce de résistance of thinly sliced, juicy beef has been served in a many permutations, and continues to be popular today, served at more than 3,500 stores in North America. Today’s menu still ignites appetites with traditional beef sandwiches, plus hot and seasoned curly fries, fresh-chopped salads, and desserts good for richly capping off meals or bribing any bridge trolls on the way home.
Although Jason and his grandfather hail from different worlds, they've landed in the same space: Marmalade's kitchen. After retiring from the CIA, Jason's grandfather opened The Egg & I in Florida. It has been dishing out breakfast for nearly 30 years since. Jason has a more traditional culinary background, attending Johnson & Wales culinary school before working in La Petit Auberge's kitchen and serving as the sous chef at Lake of the Woods Country Club. The two have merged their collective experiences to open the breakfast-centric Marmalade. Dishes include five variations of poached eggs, crepes with lingonberries or orange marmalade, and french toast freshly made with banana-nut bread, caramel, and whipped cream.
Few things bring to mind the lazy warmth of summer like a fresh funnel cake laced with powdered sugar. At Confections Carnival Food, patrons surround themselves with fair food throughout the year in a space bright with the primary colors of a circus tent or a clown's makeup-stained pillow. The deep fryer crackles sharply, crisping battered Oreos, cheesecake, and nuggets of cookie dough, and nine different flavors of cotton candy pull apart into pastel tufts of cumulonimbus. From the kitchen drift scents that hint at chicken cheesesteak smothered in onions and mushrooms as well as hot dogs, burgers, and corn dogs.
Aqua-hued walls and potted plants lend Chill 'N' Grill's interior a cheerful ambience, and an outdoor deck, nestled beside a placid fishing pond, offers diners a scenic view. Seated in either area, guests can tuck into comforting, homestyle cuisine: specialties include hand-sculpted half-pound burgers, shrimp and grits, and steak salads with bleu cheese, walnuts, red onion, and eggs. The eatery's cooks also concoct desserts such battered, fried peaches crowned with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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.