With 45 locations, the aromas of hot soup and freshly baked bread greet customers across the nation as they approach Souper Salad's overflowing display of crisp salad greens and freshly prepared hot selections. Menus for the buffet change daily, but can include albóndigas soup, Tuna Skroodle pasta salad, A-MAIZE-ing cornbread, and other dishes. Dine-in guests are free to fill their bowls with their favorite soups and chilis, build their own salads from a plethora of crispy greens and tangy dressings, and see how much soft-serve ice cream they can pile atop a single cone. Patrons can also make a visit to the taco bar or flatbread pizza zone, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available.
Cooks at Xena Pizza top housemade dough with fresh ingredients such as bacon, red peppers, and mushrooms to craft their Seattle–style pies. Customers may build their own pizzas, choosing from 16 different toppings, or opt for a signature pie such as the bacon-cheeseburger deluxe with hamburger and cheddar cheese.
Conversations pause and heads turn whenever servers at Japanese Grill carry their signature sushi boat through the dining room. Onboard the handsome wooden vessel, a dazzling spread of specialty rolls, nigiri, and sashimi showcases the sushi chefs’ culinary talents, creativity, and eye for aesthetic spectacle. Their repertoire of rolls ranges from classic crab california rolls to innovative Rock rolls with shrimp tempura, jalapeño, and sweet spicy mayo—each sliced and lined up on its own specially shaped plate.
As the sushi chefs work behind their bar, Japanese grill gurus busy themselves in the kitchen, sizzling up seafood teriyaki, flame bathing hibachi meats, and causing pots of udon noodles to boil with but one seductive glance. Meanwhile, out amid the burgundy booths of the dining room, bartenders dole out cups of hot sake and specialty cocktails beneath the glimmer of hanging blue lanterns and the flicker of flat-screen TVs. Come Tuesday, the restaurant erupts into a music-fueled party powered by karaoke jams.
Roots Coffeehouse serves up coffee, teas, and a broad array of espresso-based drinks and complements its potable pleasures with friendly service and a variety of edible options. The shop's menu draws upon three different types of espresso—a single-origin, a blended, and a decaf—to provide savvy sippers with an extra degree of customization to their order. Organic and fair-trade coffee and teas are also available to help keep consciences light and fluffy. Order up a honey vanilla latte ($3.85 for a medium) for a sweet kiss of bee syrup without the danger and mess of personally milking the bees, then pair your vanilla-fueled brainpower with Roots' free WiFi. Frozen drinks such as raspberry mocha or vanilla bean frappes ($4 for a medium) help the overheated mock the impotent sun. A food menu featuring fresh-baked pastries and muffins, as well as a quartet of sandwiches ($7.00), is also available to help customers practice one-handed hunger-avoidance maneuvers.
Learning to bake in her grandmother’s kitchen, Anyatta Nicole started selling out cakes to her sister’s coworkers at a local call center. Buoyed by the response she received, Anyatta joined with her mom to create Sinsational Cakes Bakery. The full service sweet shop creates ornate, colorful cakes for any occasion, with a full gallery of their creations available online. Anyatta and her team shape sugar and dough into guitars, cartoon characters, Polo shirts, or adult-themed sweets.
Bacon’s Bistro & Cafe's skillet wielders sate early risers and over-sleepers with a menu of morning and midday meals crafted using fresh ingredients. Awaken drowsy appetites with a cup of bolstering brew ($1.75) before choosing from a bevy of breakfast spreads, including breakfast sandwiches ($5.79–$5.99), griddle pancakes ($2.39–$5.29) customizable with a selection fruit toppings ($1.29), and a rotating lineup of homemade quiches ($6.99). The Rooftop fuses golden hash browns with veggies and your choice of meat beneath a canopy of shredded cheddar for a culinary amalgamation tastier than a scratch-and-lick cornucopia painting ($7.79). During afternoon hours, cooks shift their gastrogears to lunch mode, bedecking plates with a fresh selection of salads, sandwiches, and meaty entrees. Muffle grumbling stomach gnomes with the deep-fried pork fritter sandwich ($8.29), which swathes a cracker-encrusted pork loin between slices of crispy white bread slathered in mayo and mustard. Diners wishing to keep their meals as light as a collegiate dictionary of Internet acronyms can try a blue-cheese-speckled bistro salad, a leafy dish boasting basil chicken slices, toasted almonds, and cranberries soused in balsamic vinaigrette ($7.99).