Though the family-owned eatery traces its roots back nearly 60 years, its signature attraction spans a comparatively brief 30 minutes. The 18 Wheeler Challenge pits customers against the shop’s 2-pound bacon cheeseburger, half a pound of fries, and a large milkshake—they get half an hour to make it vanish. So far, only two have emerged from the challenge victorious—and one was a T-Rex—but either way participants walk away with a t-shirt. Though the pantheon of victors in the challenge is limited, countless patrons have successfully enjoyed the 18 Wheeler's menu siblings.
Since the Mudd family purchased Wheeler’s Handout, not much has changed. Their signature housemade burgers cost a bit more than $0.30 now, but the recipes and family’s commitment to service has been carried on with the work of Kathi, a member of the third generation who leads the staff. She and her team cook the family recipes for gourmet burgers and hot dogs, handmaking corn dogs, chili cheese fries, and milkshakes, malts, and floats.
The chefs at La Belle Vie fuse gourmet European cuisine with northwest flair. Dinner begins with a sampling of hors d'oeuvres such as heirloom-tomato-encrusted bruschetta ($7), or an assortment of gourmet cheeses ($11) served alongside a baguette and a list of ransom demands to send to the moon. Entree selections include slow-cooked, smoky bison ribs ($24), slathered in bourbon-barbecue sauce with accompaniments of vegetables, fingerling potatoes, couscous, or fettuccini. Culinary artistes toss the chicken picatta ($16) in fettuccini with tomatoes, capers, and white-wine sauce, while they roast the moroccan chicken tagine ($21) in seasonings such as saffron, ginger, nutmeg, honey, and almonds. Although not included in the price of this Groupon, diners can glean wine-pairing suggestions from the menu, the serving staff, or from sentient napkins.
A self-described destination for things fresh, fun, and healthy, Burrito Banditos prepares a straightforward menu of Mexican cuisine. That menu catalogs giant burritos, carne asada, and chili verde burritos wrapped up in giant flour tortillas, as well as tiny tacos encased in a crispy corn shell. Burrito Bandito's kitchen also serves up tostada bowls, steak quesadillas, and piles of cheesy nachos.
At the Blue Sky Cafe, guests chow down on hearty American diner fare, surrounded by memorabilia of the early age of flight. Propellers, parts, and photos of classic planes decorate the walls, creating a handsome backdrop for feasts of pancake stacks, nachos, fried-fish sandwiches, and icy-cold beers.
Though James and Laura Heiberg count chef Ryan Lancaster among their good friends, that wasn't why they hired him to man the griddles at John Doe’s Grill. Instead, the brother-sister team of restaurateurs recognized that Chef Ryan's experience as head chef at The Dish and Square would help him infuse plates of casual pub fare with surprising twists. Ingredients such as rosemary au jus, sun-dried tomatoes, and homemade red hot sauce bedeck John Doe's traditional sandwiches and burgers, which nestle into diner-style red plastic baskets lined with checkered paper. Three large-screen high-definition TVs broadcast sports games in keeping with the laid-back vibe, and a game room invites patrons to shoot darts and billiards between sips of beer or rounds of hot potato with sizzling-hot quesadillas.
Chef/owner Ronald LeBaron whips up classic down-home breakfasts in a family friendly atmosphere at LeBaron's Honker Cafe. Omelets, chicken-fried steak and eggs, and other homestyle breakfasts are served all day, but in the mornings, it's the jumbo homemade cinnamon rolls that entice early risers first. Sweet smells of swirled dough and glassy icing mingle through the air while Ron stacks plates with fluffy pancakes, Texas-size French toast, and three-egg omelets stuffed with choice ingredients. Later in the day, chef Natasha steps in the kitchen where she creates mouth-watering dinner specials, such as her slow-roasted root-beer barbecue tri-tip served with twice-baked mashed potatoes, corn, and scallion fritters. Guests may top off any meal with a wedge of homemade-baked pie.