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.
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.
Executive chef Otis Myer and his team prepare Cajun and American cuisine until midnight each night at Behle Street Cafe, a vibrant spot that pairs sumptuous food and drinks with live music. Choose from specialties such as shepherd's pie or the Steak Shawn—a tender filet mignon topped with gorgonzola cheese, grilled tiger shrimp, and a balsamic reduction sauce—or opt for lighter dishes such as whole-wheat capellini pasta. Sundays bring brunch classics such as belgian waffles, eggs benedict with marinated steak, and bloody marys spiced with white pepper, dill pickle and olive juice, and other seasonings.
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.
At their most basic, grilled cheese sandwiches only require two ingredients: cheese and bread. But just sticking to the basics doesn't satisfy the grilled cheese makers at Lil Cheezers, whom LEO Weekly praised as "masters of the art." Using local produce and wheat-berry, sourdough, or vegan bread, they craft 10 specialty versions of the sandwich, including the Fancy Pants, a blend of creamy brie, granny smith apples, and walnuts. Besides sandwiches, the culinary team whips up snacks such as fries with housemade curried ketchup that LEO Weekly insists "should make Heinz hang its head in shame." The gourmet grilled cheeses are not only available at Lil Cheezers' restaurant, but also through its multiple food trucks.