Owner and executive chef Aaron L. Ruggles char-grills flank steak and tops it with pickled sweet summer peppers and smokes fresh Atlantic salmon on a cedar plank. Succulent wild-caught scallops come pan-roasted with avocado-roasted corn orzo pasta salad and smoked red chili sauce. Moody, romantic lighting surrounds diners as servers ferry plates of pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas to four-top tables alongside house-baked focaccia bread, widely considered to be more delicious than bread baked from dismantled houses. On Wednesday nights, the original Cheap Date Night menu proffer plenty of options for every type of occasion, as do a series of daily specials, such as Monday's $5 burger-and-fries special and Tuesday's retail-wine night. A kids menu is always available.
A railroad-themed eatery in a refurbished train depot where canoes and stagecoaches hang from the ceiling, The Pufferbelly Ltd. serves hearty American fare such as smoked St. Louis–style ribs and reubens made of corned beef or sautéed grouper. For Sunday brunch, cooks build a sprawling buffet from housemade muffins, eggs benedict, and crispy, made-to-order waffles. As festive as a piñata stuffed with birthday cakes, friendly staffers throw seasonal parties galore, from breezy autumn clam bakes to vibrant Mardi Gras fetes.
The sandwich artisans at Franklin Square Deli have been assembling fresh cut-to-order deli delights for more than 27 years. The shop adorns its slate of 14 vinegary, full-loaf Italian subs with such savory meat-and-cheese combos as corned beef and swiss ($4.50 for a 6") or prosciutto and muenster ($5.90 for a 6"). A roundup of hearty gourmet and bagel sandwiches satisfies stacking enthusiasts with options such as the Mid Town, piled with turkey breast ($7.15), or Carl's Favorite bagel, a hubris-rich collection of capocollo, provolone, onions, and cream cheese wedged between a toasted onion bagel ($6.10). Thirsty diners grease gullets with soft drinks (starting at $1.45) or bowls of homemade chili.
What sets the Hungry Howie’s menu apart from other pizza parlors, other than its complete lack of profanity, is the eight flavored-crust options that inject life into the formerly discarded pizza part. If you’re allergic to life, inject butter, onion, butter cheese, ranch, Cajun spices, garlic herb, or sesame instead. Keep thinking outside the pizza box by loading your flavorful crust with specialty pizza innards, such as the Philly cheese and steak ($12.99 for a medium), the Howie Maui (ham, smoked bacon, and pineapple, $12.99 for medium), and the bacon-cheddar cheeseburger ($12.99 for medium). DIY diners, on the other hand, can opt for a medium 12-inch pizza for $8.49 and add their own toppings for an additional $1.50 each. Howie's also serves up tasty wings (10 for $6.99), salads (try a small Greek for $4.99), calzone-style subs ($6.99), and Howie bread, which comes in original ($3.49), three-cheeser ($4.99), Cajun ($3.49), and sticky-sweet cinnamon ($3.49). Prices vary from location to location, so there might be some small variation from what is listed above.
Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.