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 brings the inner dessert alchemists out of everyday eaters with a flavorsome rainbow of self-serve frozen yogurts and toppings. Packed with active yogurt cultures, and weighing in at about 30 calories per ounce, Yolotti’s frozen yogurt blurs the line between healthy and heavenly. Like a dessert-slinging tilt-o-whirl, this cabana for chilled confections rotates an array of 16 flavors that include standard and seasonal varietals, such as classic tart, key lime, and red-velvet cake, as well as sugar-free and dairy-free selections. Shingle creamy creations with wholesome kiwi cubes and rice-cake bits or flash back to childhood with a rubble of bubble gum and animal cookies drizzled in peanut-butter syrup. Each magnum opus is charged at $0.35 per ounce—about half the cost and twice the pleasure of appeasing a tempestuous parking meter—typically totaling about $4 per person. Bottomless cups of freshly brewed coffee ($1.29) thaw iced palates, and soft drinks ($1.29) and house-made cookies ($1.29) promise a more molecularly stable form of sweetness.