A half pound of seasoned ground beef dressed in a thick overcoat of toppings and condiments awaits the arrival of hungry patrons in the comforting confines of Vince’s South Port Restaurant. A classic diversion from a spicied-up menu loaded with the piquant flavors of Cajun Louisiana, the Original burger offers its own tasty torrent of mouthwatering flavors. Thick spreads of mayonnaise and mustard grace the soft surface of the bun and serve as the groundwork for savory skyscrapers of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, pickles, and onions. Swiss or american cheese can be melted onto the flame-grilled masterpiece for an additional 50 cents, and a cultivated audience of french fries stands nearby on the plate, eager to appraise the meal’s cultural merit and comment on its principled sophistication.
From humble beginnings as a single donut shop in Lakewood, California, in 1953, Denny's has grown into a nationwide destination for classic American diner food served around the clock. After starting off as Danny's Donuts, the shop quickly expanded to a second location and began offering sandwiches. In just six more years, Danny's Donuts had morphed into Denny's and split into 20 franchises. Today, more than 1,700 locations thrive across the nation, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any time that diners walk into or gleefully roll through their eatery.
The sun melts into the horizon, leaving a bright-orange band of sky in its wake that gives way to a deep-blue Texas night. Twinkling lights wrapped around the windmill flicker on as ebullient music fills Fish Camp's outdoor patio, to the delight of diners savoring their desserts in the open air. Such evenings are hardly a rarity at the restaurant, which beckons guests to its quiet countryside location with a menu of seafood and traditional Southern comfort food.
Inside the buzzing kitchen, chefs whip up mouthwatering dishes featuring aquatic ingredients such as clear-water, farm-raised catfish and gulf prawns. The chefs also assemble platefuls of comfort food using traditional recipes from across the South, ranging from Texas toothpicks and Cajun-style blackened tilapia to Kentucky-bourbon pecan pie. Young diners can frolic on the deck and partake in casual fishing to retrieve lost contact lenses, and local musicians assemble on Friday and Saturday nights to delight patrons with live performances.
Creole and Mexican culinary traditions are a natural fit for one another. Both rely on a healthy dose of spice, and both elevate comfort food. At The Oyster Bar and Grille, chefs draw on the region’s bounty of seafood as well as a range of Mexican recipes. They fill homemade tacos with hot crawfish and batter farm-raised catfish in homemade corn-meal mix. Splashes of champagne make mesquite-grilled oysters sparkle at tables in the dining room, where surfboards and lifebuoys adorn the wall. Murals of beach scenes seem to admit warming sunshine, and an aquarium lets amateur scuba divers practice looking a fish in the eye. High-top tables and stools around the full bar comfortably situate diners, who can also carry po’ boys and oysters on the half shell to the outdoor patio.
Zocolo's chefs concoct savory helpings of sandwiches, brick-oven pizzas, seafood, and more for lunch and dinner. The stylish eatery's menu, populated with innovative dishes such as grilled pork tenderloin medallions served with a blackberry-chipotle demi glace ($16.95) and gator bites dunked in remoulade ($10.95), launches palates on epicurean adventures. For lunch, patrons can pair a half panini or po boy with soup or side salad ($9.95) or nosh on one of the six brick-oven pizzas ($8.95–$13.95), a vast improvement over thatched-oven pizzas. To end the culinary journey, guests can indulge in the button-popping peanut-butter pie, topped with a layer of milk chocolate ($5.95). Zocolo's relaxing patio and intimate bar area afford myriad seating choices for diners and restless warlords.