When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
To make jerk chicken, Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill’s signature dish, native Jamaican chefs marinate the meat in Jamaican scotch pepper and allspice, grill it over an open flame, and then drizzle the crispy result with hibiscus pepper sauce. The dish has been hailed by Urban Tulsa Weekly as “a great tasting blend of spices with deeply grilled chicken,” and it's one of the eatery’s many entrees that showcase imported Jamaican spices and traditional culinary techniques. Chefs also prepare piquant curry dishes and stir-fry meats with fresh pineapple. Whenever possible, they enhance dishes with local and organic ingredients.
At Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill’s rum bar, diners can watch high-definition TVs or visualize completing a perfect rhythmic-gymnastics routine to soothing island and world music. The restaurant also occasionally hosts bands and other live entertainment.
Camille Rutkauskas and her husband, David, glanced at the Tulsa mall's food court and its predictable litany of fast-food options. That's when an idea struck—why not open a place that's the antithesis of all of this? With that, the couple opened Camille's Sidewalk Café, a place focused on fresh coastal- and Mediterranean-inspired food, fresh baked goods, and fruit smoothies. With a menu highlighted by made-to-order wraps and paninis with ingredients such as brie, herb-garlic tortillas, and pesto mayo, the couple's vision propelled Camille's Sidewalk Café to a franchise with locations in nearly 30 states, as well as Puerto Rico, the Middle East, and the Banana Republic.
Yolotti Frozen Yogurt's eight frosty machines dispense swirling servings of 16 dulcet flavors of yogurt and sorbet, including gluten- and fat-free options, as well as no-sugar-added varities, before handfuls of fresh fruits and candies tumble down each cupful's creamy peak. One punch card fills bellies with five 12-ounce cups of dairy varieties such as harvest peach, caramel cream, and Sumatra vanilla. Key-lime sorbet marries hints of sweet and sour, and seasonal flavors such as Egg Nog Lover, gingerbread, and pumpkin-pie summon up memories of liquid-diet holidays. Chilly customers scoop up their choice of toppings from the treasure trove of ripe blackberries and bananas or crumbly pieces of Kit Kats and Oreo cookies. After pleasing palates, each yogurt infuses bodies with six live and active cultures, promoting digestive health. Between bites, guests can check email over the free WiFi or challenge each other to rousing bouts of Risk, Trivial Pursuit, or other board games traditionally used to determine the outcome of presidential debates in the event of a tie.
The baristas at Nordaggio's Coffee have a passion for Arabica beans. Like sommeliers, they analyze the beans' characteristics before roasting them with vintage apparatus and brewing them into fragrant coffee or steamy lattes. Visitors to the café can choose from an array of blends, including chocolaty Espresso Divino, earthy Nox Atra, or Afroguatran, a blend of East African, Guatemalan, and Indonesian java.
The Ripe Tomato sates appetites in an eco-friendly manner with a casual café menu incorporating locally grown produce, organic breads, and homemade sauces. Chefs disguised as bushes sneak up on sundried tomatoes, black olives, and smoked turkey before ensnaring them in the Romani wrap ($9.25), while the Very Berry salad drapes honey roasted ham and berries atop mixed greens ($10.25). Forks scale the peaks of parmesan-encrusted chicken and feta found in the Freaky Greeky salad and ride down on an avalanche of garlic vinaigrette ($9.65). The albuquerque sandwich's shredded chicken bathes in spicy mayonnaise and rests snugly between two slices of organic grilled tuscan bread ($8.95). Hungry passersby can find The Ripe Tomato inside The Market, where they sit in close proximity to knick knacks such as colorful lamps, oil paintings, and soap sculptures of President Richard Nixon.