It’s hardly a surprise that chef Tony Vitulli’s food embodies his Italian heritage, from housemade pasta sauces to rich and decadent slices of tiramisu. Yet, it’s the tapas that add complexity to his traditional Italian recipes. While living in Spain, Tony married a Spanish woman and fell in love with the country’s signature small plates. The couple then moved to Atlanta, where they opened up their trendy bi-cultural eatery. The kitchen, which Robert Nebel of the Examiner.com applauded for “[concentrating] on quality, rather than quantity,” represents Spain with a range of tapas, such as lamb kebabs and chorizo omelets, and churns out seven types of long and short pastas drenched in 13 sauces—each one made from scratch. Golden-yellow walls and exposed brick encircle a handful of tables set for two inside the cozy space. Diners can also head to the outdoor patio and enjoy a pitcher of homemade sangria alfresco, which is Italian for “while posing for a mural.”
The bold flavors of Cuba take center stage at Palomilla's Grill House. The chefs specialize in traditional Cuban recipes, from plates of crispy fried plantains to tender pork roasted in a blend of tropical juices, mojo sauce, and garlic. They incorporate a wide range of ingredients to craft whole fried red snapper to creamy flan made with a hint of coconut. Although they stick to more traditional recipes for dishes, the staff find room to experiment more behind the bar and their in-home chemistry labs. Bartenders mix together six styles of mojitos using the restaurant's signature homemade mojito mix and a variety of Caribbean rums. These drinks help give guests the courage necessary to hit the dance floor during live music showcases on the weekend.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Angus beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market. This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun Häagen-Dazs shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded to 160 restaurants in five years, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Inspired by owner Bruce Cohn's longing for the treasured deli fare of New York?where he had previously lived?Grouchy's beckons its visitors to "come taste the city" across a spacious menu of breakfast and lunch favorites. Groups can channel New York flavor through a catering menu of deli bagels, soups, and specialty sandwiches, such as the Grand Slam Breakfast Platter, designed for 10 or more early amassers, featuring various combinations of scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, and cheese on bagels or croissants.
Long hailed for a mastery of ham far beyond the skills of mere mortal meat cookers, the meat mavens at HoneyBaked Ham invite you to put their newly honed turkey skills to the test with today's Groupon: a whole roasted turkey breast for $12 (an up to $25 value). Get your moist turkey breast unadulterated, or let the HoneyBaked masters finish your bird with crackling sweet glaze, which may or may not be cooled by having volunteer glaze-pixies fan it with their wings. Call one of HoneyBaked's participating locations (found here and in the sidebar to the right) to reserve your order, and pick up your juicy bird.
The chefs at Firenze Ristorante make all of the eatery's pastas, breads, sauces, and desserts from scratch. The fruits of their labor can be seen in the dining room, where diners sip Italian red or white wines while savoring smoky wood-grilled pizzas and handmade ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut squash.