As his family siphoned wine from barrels at their bottling business in Arequipa, Peru, then-toddler Ruben Reynoso snuck sips at every opportunity. As he grew older, he eventually joined his family at the table, where dinners often paired plates of his grandmother's homemade pasta with glasses of his grandfather's wines. After starting a wine club with his friends and traveling the world to sample new varietals, the expert vintner opened El Wine Chateau, a wine boutique that would blend his personal passion with his family history.
Inside, stately wooden racks draped with decorative vines cradle more than 150 labels, including many from South America and Spain, as well as dessert and sparkling wines such as cremant and prosecco. Reynoso's encyclopedic wine knowledge springs to life as he leads wine classes with snacks. El Wine Chateau's wine club continues the educational experience with two bottles per month, which arrive with tasting notes, suggested food pairings, and first drafts of their autobiographies.
Manny G’s boasts a menu bursting with breakfast classics as well as sandwiches, burgers, and salads, all served in a renovated 1940s family home. The Armadillo Egg, a spicy combination of pickled jalapeno, cheddar cheese, and sausage wrapped in a biscuit ($1.95), shares the stage with sandwiches and wraps, served with homemade potato chips and a pickle. Diners can choose from varieties ranging from the turkey-spinach wrap ($7.95) to the ultimate panini, stacked with prosciutto, turkey, pepperoni, ham, salami, red onion, tomatoes, cheddar and havarti cheese, and grilled with olive oil ($9.95). The house salad’s blend of greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and cheese ($6.50) appeases those who were rabbits in a past life, and a build-your-own-burger option ($9.95) lets diners trick out 10-ounce patties with jalapenos, avocado, pepperoni, bacon, and pepper jack cheese.
When the titular owner of Mr. Jim's Pizza founded his first eatery in 1975, he wasn't planning to be there for long. Instead, he hoped his business profits would help him to open his own franchise of McDonald's, where he'd worked part-time to put himself through college. Soon, however, the success of his shop led to the opening of several more locations in Garland, as well as franchises across the state. Today, Mr. Jim presides over dozens of Texas pizza joints, where chefs hand-stretch freshly made dough to create their trademark D'Luxe pizzas. Loaded with fresh mozzarella, crisp veggies, and real meat toppings, these pies fill tables and takeout boxes alongside appetizers such as wings and bread sticks dipped in fresh tomato sauce.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit may have expanded into hundreds of franchises throughout the country since first opening in Dallas in 1941, but each restaurant's dedication to creating the best Texas-style smoked meats remains the same as the original's. Every new franchise goes through a training process called Barbecue U, where owners learn the ins and outs of food preparation and customer service as founder Travis Dickey practiced more than 70 years ago. And considering two of Travis's primary tenets were authenticity and barbecue sauce, it's not surprising that both of those things rank high on Barbecue U's curriculum.
Yet despite all these other points of focus, pit-smoked meats—from beef brisket to fall-off-the-bone pork ribs—are still the core of what makes Dickey's great. Because these tried-and-true staples never fail to keep customers coming back for more, Dickey's changes very little about its menu. In fact, the first major change in 50 years happened just recently: a spicy cheddar sausage intended to be a limited-time offering was so popular that it was inducted onto the menu permanently. Aside from that, Roland Dickey, Jr. (Travis's grandson) stays true to his family's original vision, aiming for a friendly, down-home ambiance where guests can help themselves to free extras such as buttered rolls, soft-serve ice cream, and breathable oxygen.
After years devising his ideal pizzeria, David Davydd Miller dispensed his first slices in 1984 to patrons in College Station, Texas. Back then Dave recruited the help of a flourmill and cannery to generate customized blends of his crust and sauce formulas. These days, within DoubleDave's Pizzaworks restaurants' 30 Texas and Oklahoma locations, chefs concoct Dave's signature honey whole-wheat crust daily from hand-tossed dough along with batches of sauce made from scratch with Escalon tomatoes. Those ingredients join hand-cut veggies and meats from Tyson and Burke to collectively form a delectable disk that proves once and for all that pie can be divided evenly. Along with half a dozen specialty pizzas, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks appeases palates with signature pepperoni rolls, sandwiches, and Dave's favorite dish, the philly-cheesesteak stromboli.
Inspired by Mexico’s culinary traditions, the chefs at Jalapenos concoct a menu of authentic fare that combines classic eats with modern adaptations and popular contemporary dishes. Diners can kick off meals with guacamole whipped up tableside using juicy tomatoes, crisp cilantro, and avocados freshly plucked from the mouths of the giant green oysters found only in the warm coastal waters off of Puerto Escondido. Main courses include tacos brimming with beef brisket or spicy diced pork, beef fajitas sizzling in iron skillets, and the Oaxaca chile relleno bursting with cheese and seasoned beef or chicken under a blanket of ranchero sauce. Guests can satiate their sweet teeth with innovative desserts such as the cheesecake chimichanga, a deep-fried tortilla-wrapped cheesecake topped with cinnamon and caramel sauce. Throughout meals, Jalapenos entertains diners with festivities such as live Mariachi music on Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.