It was 1962 when Nick Pascarella tested his new theory for grilling the perfect steak. In his mind, open flames created the best tasting beef, so doubling the amount of flame could only make it better. This hunch resulted in Nick's signature Flamekist?think flame-kissed?technique: he grills steaks on the top and bottom simultaneously so they quickly develop an even sear, which locks juices in the center. Since then, this concept has been embraced by an ever-expanding empire of Western-Sizzlin steakhouses that encompasses more than 75 locations scattered across 17 states.
At each location, the cooks grill sirloin, rib-eye, and T-bone steaks. They season the meats with Western-Sizzlin's secret blend of spices?known as Gold Dust?which the cooks keep in a secret puzzle box. To accompany these hearty cuts of beef, they fill buffets with hot and cold side dishes, salad fixings, freshly baked breads, and desserts. Additionally, their bacon cheeseburgers, fried shrimp dinners, grilled chicken sandwiches, steaming hot baked potatoes, and other homespun classics help round out the menu's selection of family-style cooking.
Corky's Ribs & BBQ must be doing something right. The southern barbecue has attracted celebrities such as Phoenix Suns coach Dan Majerle and running back Emmitt Smith, and its sought-after barbecue sauce is served in stores nationwide, except in stores that only sell big-and-tall pajama pants. People can't seem to resist Corky's signature Memphis-style ribs, which are hickory-smoked and slathered in the restaurant's secret blend of spices. The grill also slow cooks St. Louis-style pork ribs, chicken sandwiches, and fish, all of which are served with hearty southern sides.
The enormous menu at Shorty Small's is home to a whole array of Southern-inspired comfort food, but what they're perhaps best known for is barbecue. Piled high with seasoned fries, baked beans, a cheesy biscuit, and slaw, plates crowd with tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs or marinated pulled pork topped with tangy barbecue sauce. Shorty Small's also has a full selection of imported and domestic beers, as well as wine by the glass and nonalcoholic beverages for shorties.
All the steaks served at Western Sizzlin are first flame-kissed—cooked with flames licking both sides of the steak at once. As general manager Elgin Hamner states on the restaurant's website, this method preserves the flavors and juices of each slab, including the top-sirloin, rib-eye, filet-mignon, and T-bone steaks that populate the menu. Besides steaks, chefs prepare chicken breasts six different ways, including broiled or drizzled with teriyaki sauce, and they skim shrimp and salmon across the grill’s surface to the rhythm of "Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)." Diners can also tear into a cheeseburger or a philly steak sandwich underneath the antlered chandeliers that dangle from the ceiling.
The cuisine at Lori's Grill on the Plaza isn?t linked by a region, but by the handcrafted care with which it?s prepared. Here, cooks make pan-seared crab cakes by hand, wrap juicy filet mignons in bacon, and stuff Greek-inspired chicken breast with feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, and black olives. They even whip up nine fettuccini alfredos?including a cajun-style shrimp version?with sauce made from a secret recipe known only to cooks and the spy stuck in the kitchen radiator.
At The Steakhouse, experienced chefs from Brazil roast a menu of more than 12 meats over open flames, serve imported cheeses, and bake fresh bread daily with flour from Brazil. Servers appear tableside wielding cuts of top sirloin, bacon-wrapped chicken breast, or smoked sausages impaled on swords and then shaved into plate-sized portions or busts of Teddy Roosevelt. Duos accompany a helping of garlic steak with fresh mozzarella or savor the house specialty picanha with black beans from the side bar’s selection of 20 salads and meal accompaniments. To cap off the dinner, diners relish the popular roasted pineapple, sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar, and dreams grown in Candy Land.