In 1963, Vita and Jay Totta opened up their cozy café with a small counter, three tables, and four booths. Within three years, the couple’s following of loyal diners had overgrown their modest space, and they expanded to a larger location with more than twice the seating capacity of the original café. Another steady increase in popularity led the Tottas to create V's Italiano Ristorante as it stands today, which includes a spacious dining room, three private banquet rooms, a lounge, and an outdoor patio. When designing and building the restaurant in 1971, Jay—a professional architect—focused on creating an Old-World atmosphere where guests could enjoy everything from Sunday brunch to romantic candlelight dinners with their tax auditors. Patrons may also venture out to the restaurant's garden patio, where they'll eat by a stone waterfall and under the vines of a grape arbor originally planted by Vita's father.
Although Salvatore’s has changed hands three times, it never once strayed beyond the Garozzo family’s reach. Founded in 1991 by Mike and Alfio Garozzo, the restaurant bore the name Garozzo’s until 2003 when Alfio’s son—Salvatore “Sam” Garozzo—took over as full owner. Sam made several interior and exterior renovations, but he kept his family’s rich culinary traditions intact through a chronicle of Mad Libs and a menu of rich pastas, homemade gnocchi, and sautéed veal entrees. Sam’s vivacious personality earns the restaurant nearly as many loyal customers as the flavorful cuisine, as he makes an extra effort to check up on his customers throughout their meal.
Corn tortillas filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese rest peacefully on a plate, unsuspecting of the fate that awaits them, when suddenly they find themselves in the hot embrace of a deep-fryer. What emerges is not merely a taco, but Lucia’s Famous Taco, a crunchy confection and, like many of Lucia’s dishes, a twist on a classic Mexican dish.
Since 1957, HiBoy Drive-In's retro neon palace has been grilling and frying meals on the go. The classic quarter-pound HiBoy burger ($4.50) stacks a quarter-pound patty with basic burger accoutrements, including the secret-recipe HiBoy sauce, kept in a vault guarded by braver sauces. Crisp onion rings ($3.19) and crunchy pickles ($3.19) emerge from the fryer, ready to be washed down with a sweet peach Nehi float ($2.79).
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Red-and-white checkered tablecloths dress up the tables inside Zirpolo's, triggering comforting memories of the Italian joints of your youth. These classic linens welcome platefuls of pasta smothered in your choice of sauce, including pesto, alfredo, or bolognese. Chefs also churn out a number of house specialties, such as chicken marsala topped with mushrooms and seasoned cod filets paired with a lemon-garlic-parmesan sauce. Fresh bread accompanies each entree, ensuring that diners can sop up every last drop of sauce?even if they left their favorite squeegee at home.