Executive chef Bryan Merker's food may be inspired by his travels all across America, but one destination really stands out: New Orleans. He and his wife Monica (Nica) have fallen in love with its Cajun-style cooking.
At Nica's Lagniappe, they serve treats such as red beans with ham hocks, crab bisque, seafood gumbo, redfish al la mer, and shrimp creole. They also specialize in bourbon bread pudding and true french beignets, which can be stuffed with sweet fillings such as chocolate truffles. These pair with creative cocktails, such as the Ramos gin fizz or the Hurricane. The eatery even serves drinks from an absinthe fountain.
From the father-and-daughter team in the back office, to the eldest son calling shots in the kitchen, Perazelli's is truly a family-run operation. Cooks craft executive chef Eric Perazelli's menu of classic Italian dishes, from homemade meatballs to slow-braised chianti short ribs. The chefs are also skilled in preparing dishes for diners with gluten-free, vegetarian, and photosynthetic diets. Inside the dining area often overseen by eldest daughter Christi, diners split large hand-tossed pizzas covered in toppings such as steak and gorgonzola cheese, chasing each bite with sips from bottles of wine from behind the full bar.
Opened in 1956, Snead's Bar-B-Q satisfies meat-cravers with its original recipes and pit-cooked flavors on a scrumptious menu. Cooked in an old-fashioned brick barbecue pit filled with hickory wood, Snead's smoky barbecue fare comes served in beef, ham, pork, turkey, and sausage dishes. Diners can satiate carnivorous appetites with sliced or log-meat sandwiches ($5.75 on a round bun, $6.95 on a long bun), or relish the texture of beef, ham, or sausage Brownies, which are the delectable burnt ends of meat ($9.95 for a small plate). For alternative palate pleasers, Snead's Bar-B-Q also boasts various side dishes such as barbecue pit-baked beans ($1.95), mac 'n' cheese ($1.95), and french fries ($1.95). Drizzle your meat in a choice of mild or hot savory sauces, which invigorate taste buds from their bland day-job as assistant manager of a burger joint kitty-corner from the stomach,
Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Popeyes remains the flavorful lovechild of Cajun and Creole cooking, serving up a wide-ranging menu. Connoisseurs of crispiness can stick with Popeyes’ famous New Orleans–style fried chicken meals ($4.49–$6.89) surrounded with savory sides ($1.59–$3.79) such as warm flaky biscuits, red beans and rice, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, Cajun rice, and more. Otherwise, slather some livers and gizzards ($2.99–$5.49) onto a biscuit and eat it, temporarily imbuing you with the chicken’s mighty strength and ability to smell time. Avian-averse appetites can feast instead on a shrimp po’ boy combo ($6.19) with a pecan pie ($1.49) or Mississippi mud pie ($1.99) for dessert. And to keep your famished family from impeaching you and electing a new parent, quell multi-person appetites with bona fide family meals ($10.49–$30.99).
While Butterfly Kisses Baking's staff avidly serves its local customers by decorating cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, the people they most proudly cater to are military troops. The shop allocates 20% of its profits to providing care packages for servicemen and women abroad. They build those funds by enticing customers with the sweetness packed into their various treats, which include peppermint-bark cupcakes, lemon sugar cookies, and cake pops themed after the flavors of cereal, cookies, and candy bars. Bakers are on hand to help clients create custom desserts including themed cakes that might light up a child’s face on his birthday or fondant scenes so real you’d consider buying a time share there.