Pinkys pays homage to its Windy City location with a vintage tough-guy logo and a menu of Chicago-style polishes and gyros. Daily specials include classics such as catfish strips, a Maxwell Street-style polish, and barbecue-rib tips. Containers of croutons and thousand-island, blue-cheese, or creamy-ranch dressing sit on the side of meaty salads, ensuring that dishes get the partner of their choice, unlike most cops who live on the edge. Diners can round out their meals with a side of sauce or wash down each bite with a milk shake.
Don’t let the name fool you—Peking Tokyo has more on its menu than delicacies from its namesake city. That’s because the cooks draw from other culinary traditions as well, assembling a well-rounded lineup of pan-Asian cuisine. In addition to the Japanese staples of sushi, vegetable tempura, and hibachi-grilled morsels, cooks can prepare Chinese entrees such as fried rice and moo goo gai pan, as well as a selection of Thai dishes that includes pad Thai and curry shrimp.
As the name might suggest, Daddy's Kitchen is truly a family business. The restaurant recreates traditional meals with Southern-inspired soul food and dessert recipes plucked straight from grandma's cookbook. Although the specials change every day, heaping portions of beef short ribs, turkey wing and cornbread dressing, and fried catfish frequently play well with sides including macaroni and cheese, greens, and candied yams. Homemade desserts, including peach cobbler, banana pudding, and a rotating assortment of cakes, bring each meal to a sweet conclusion.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.