Part soul-food joint, part sushi bar, and part karaoke venue, Oasis Sushi and Soul resists easy definitions. The restaurant’s extensive catalog of karaoke hits reflects an eclectic menu where Southern barbecue sandwiches rub shoulders with Japanese sushi and sashimi. Drawing from diverse inspirations, the chefs cultivate a harmony between far-flung cuisines that can even result in elaborate fusion creations such as the Kentucky roll, which ties together four types of fish with freshly mowed blades of bluegrass. Equipped to host karaoke nights, the restaurant’s newly renovated private rooms regularly play host to group events.
When the Perry and Burke families joined forces to open Sweet n Swirly, they shared a vision of promoting a healthier alternative to ice cream. Neither family could have predicted, however, how quickly that vision would catch on.
Today, visitors stream into a trio of cheery, welcoming locations in Kentucky and Indiana, eagerly sidling up to self-serve stations that protrude from walls painted in vibrant pinks and purples. These stations pump out 10 creamy flavors at any given time, including no-sugar-added options and nondairy sorbets.
The ever-changing lineup of flavors runs the gamut from refreshing to decadent. On one side of the spectrum are tart, summery variations such as blueberry, ginger lemonade, and non-dairy sorbet, whereas choices inspired by more traditional desserts include peanut butter and root-beer float. A candy wall proffers toppings such as jellybeans and chocolate sunflower seeds.
Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
The Holiday Inn University Plaza's atrium-style high-rise hotel spoils out-of-towners and local staycationers with a plethora of accommodations, including in-room dining options and complimentary newspaper delivery. This Groupon gets you a guest room with a king-size bed (up to $114 value). During your stay, you’ll be treated to a half-dozen chocolate-covered strawberries ($7 value) and a bottle of champagne ($12 value). After a night of passionate channel surfing, rouse from your slumber to bask in the savory ambience of breakfast for two (up to $20 value) and enjoy a late checkout ($35 value), just in case the bottle of bubbly caused you to sneak in an extra booze snooze.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
In 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shoppe, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shoppe got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.
A bright-red fender guitar. A roulette wheel. A green dragon poised for attack. These are just a few of the near limitless cake designs that emerge from The Buttercream Boutique. A look at the boutique's past work shows few limitations: edible roses dot tiered cakes, and buttercream icing transforms desserts into scenes from movies, TV shows, and sports games. For weddings, the towering creations stack even higher and incorporate everything from fresh flowers to the father-in-law's car keys.
The desserts showcase flavors almost as varied as their designs. More than 40 flavors, fillings, mix-ins, and infusions—including alcohol—let customers create nearly anything their sweet teeth desire. Alternatively, the boutique can bake one of their tried-and-true flavors. These include favorites such as peanut-butter cup—chocolate cake with a peanut-butter-mousse filling—and seasonal options such as pumpkin-spice cake capped in cream cheese. The Buttercream Boutique also bakes cookies and cupcakes, and many of their recipes accommodate specialty diets.
Head chefs Shawn and Henry Shin—who has been a chef since he was 19—curate Wasabiya Japanese Cuisine’s menu of traditional and contemporary Japanese food including more than 65 sushi rolls. Whether classically prepared, partially fried, or oven baked, each roll follows an inventive recipe. The New Orleans packs spicy crawfish and cucumber, and the Kentucky Derby unites spicy crab, shrimp, scallop, and cream sauce while 165,000 people watch you eat it. Wasabiya’s staff rounds out the menu with cooked entrees such steak sukiyaki and shrimp and vegetables battered in a light layer of tempura crunch.