With four of its art-deco bedecked establishments open 24 hours, Dots Diner awakens morning munchers and lulls late-night eaters with fresh ingredients and made-to-order fare piled generously atop platters. Dots' fixed menu, fashioned from family recipes and teeming with eggs, grits, buttermilk pancakes ($3.99), and burgers ($1.39–$5.99), is available for breakfast, lunch, and twilight brunch. The house specialty, new orleans omelet packs crawfish, savory sauce, and swiss cheese in an eggy embrace ($7.99), and the fried shrimp po' boy dresses crispy shrimp in lettuce, tomato, pickles, french bread, and a beret ($6.99). Greet sweet teeth of all ages with apple pie à la mode ($3.69) or sip a root-beer float, lavishing your taste buds with ice cream and soft drink ($2.99), a fusion as memorable as whiskey and cookies.
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These purveyors of premium Italian eats buy local ingredients and prepare all dishes from scratch daily, from the sauce to the dough. Baked in a brick oven, the Who-Dat pizza ($12.95 for 14") comes loaded with apple-smoked bacon, meatballs, pepperoni, black olives, and a quizzical expression. Blossoming pie artisans can draw from a rich palette of toppings ($1 each for 14") such as anchovies, sundried tomatoes, and Italian sausage to paint personal masterpieces on plain-pizza canvases ($10.99 for 14"). Meanwhile, the crab-cake linguini ($14.95) is served with your choice of red or white sauce, allowing easy color coordination with wedding dresses and Mountie uniforms. Ensconced in the restaurant’s relaxing, rustic interior, wash down your meal with a cold domestic brew ($2.50), refreshing import or microbrew ($3.50¬–$4), or choice of house wine ($6 per glass, $20 for a bottle).
With more than 50 years in the business under its belt, Banting's Nursery continually colludes with Mother Nature to smuggle extra oxygen into the air with an array of fresh plants. Twig and vine enthusiasts looking to foray into gardening will delight in exploring a wide selection of adoptable flora, from citrus trees and tomato plants to colorful flowers. The shop's knowledgeable shrubologists can explain the sunlight preferences and water lifestyle choices of beauties ranging from the tropical hibiscus ($12.95 for a 3-gal.) to the plumbago ($5.95 for a 1-gal.). Three gallons' worth of knockout roses ($19.95) double as a flying-fisted home security system, and the fragrant, pale-petaled frost-proof gardenia rolls its eyes blithely at winter's advances ($14.95 for a 3-gal.).
Offering a head-spinning variety of cups and other party-planning accessories, Party Cup Express sees to it that rambunctious revelers let loose with remarkable receptacles in hand. Tailgate in style with a set of 25 16-ounce black-and-gold souvenir cups emblazoned with the fleur-de-lis ($10), craft memorable baked goods with a crawfish cookie cutter ($3.95), or keep beverages frosty with a set of six Water Meter coozies ($6). Dazzle passing pedestrians and increase the chances of picking up a hitchhiking Drew Brees with a Saints Super Bowl Champions license plate ($5).
Featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Rivershack Tavern's historic 100+ year-old edifice envelops daring pub dishes and cold drinks served within a dart's throw of the Mississippi River. Classically trained chef Mike Baskind executes a robust menu that jump-starts waning taste buds with its snack-a-tizers such as fried green tomatoes ($6.75) and fierce alligator sausage ($6) that isn't afraid to talk back to mouths. Heaping sandwiches have playful monikers to delight diners and to conceal the meaty operatives' real names, such as the pastrami-filled Ben D. Rules sandwich ($9.25). A seven-sandwich-deep po' boy lineup includes crunchy delights such as a fried oyster po' boy ($11.75). The historic, worn-in setting surrounds patrons in classic wood-paneled tavern décor and entertains with its rotating calendar of live music.