Using wrung-from-the-wild seafood, Skipper's Seafood and Chowder House dunks cod in thick batter and submerges fish 'n' chips in hot oil to forge dishes tweaked over the course of 40 years in business. Rainforest-themed décor transports diners to warmer climes as they nosh hearty helpings of french fries alongside two slabs of crispy fish or chicken as heart-warming and crunchy as a deep-fried valentine. Chefs cut seafood by hand to craft ideally sized tenders to fuel chatter between couples, pals, or duos attempting to steal Poseidon's identity, and the restaurant's kitchen harnesses locally sourced produce and wild-caught seafood to promote sustainability and pamper dining consciences.
A Rocky Mountain horizon peaks over the roof of Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Dodge's glass-walled showroom as glimmering rows of new and preowned autos file neatly into the spaces of an expansive lot. Tucked inside the service department, mechanics outfit cars with everything from OEM auto parts to sips of oil and fresh new filters. Convenient Saturday hours also allow hurried businesspeople to avoid stressing out in between going to work and taking shark-taming classes.
Each day, Café Bella Rue’s Italian chef crafts 34 types of gelato and sorbetto that span the flavor gamut, blending everything from traditional panna cotta and pistachio to milk chocolate with whiskey. The kitchen staffers extend this playful mix of tradition and ingenuity to the rest of the menu, handcrafting a lineup of distinctive sandwiches, pizzas, calzones, and salads, all composed of fresh, surprising ingredients, such as pears, capers, and hunks of buffalo mozzarella. They aren’t afraid to stray from the written ingredients to accommodate customers, either, swapping out focaccia for gluten-free bread upon request and enhancing already stellar panini with jalapeño jelly, chipotle sauce, or cleverly hidden stacks of $100 bills.
In addition, baristas brew up a slew of beverages, including hot chocolate and affogatos. Guests can sip these expertly prepared concoctions on leather sofas encircling a 20-foot fireplace, or can retreat to the outdoor patio to soak up the sounds of live music drifting over from Oquirrh Lake.
Scott and Nancy Litke opened a roadside food shack in partial tribute to Scott’s grandparents, Emmett and Ethel, who have quite a backstory: After a run-in with the law, Emmett disappeared in 1934, and the couple became a local legend. Just for fun, Scott challenges guests to a bounty game: any customer who brings in someone named “Emmett” will be rewarded with free lunch. The Emmett also receives a shirt and a place on the wall of fame. It’s one of a few challenges the restaurant offers to customers—there are also eating contests, including Man v. Emmett’s Burger and Man v. Ethel’s Sundae.
Since its opening, the “shack” has been updated to become a 2,800-square foot restaurant. The ethic is the same, though: Emmett’s and Ethel’s churns out fresh, homemade food, such as gourmet burgers, hot dogs, and baskets piled high with fish and chicken that has been hand-cut in the kitchen. In addition to traditional malts and shakes, guests can savor parlor-style ice cream sundaes with ingredients such as deep fried peach halves, toasted almond ice cream, and brownies.
If it weren't for Frank Crail, Durango, Colorado would have been a much different smelling place. Decades ago, when he and his family first settled in the mountain town, he was considering two different business ventures: a chocolate shop or a car wash. Luckily, he chose chocolate, and since then, the air in Durango has carried its distinctly sweet scent. Inside the flagship shop, as well as in the hundreds of international franchises that have popped up over the years, cooks simmer caramel and fudge in hand-forged copper kettles, dipping skewered apples in the bubbling caramel and pouring the fudge onto 500-pound slabs of marble that cool it as it's shaped into 22-pound loaves.
Though they've now got a handle on efficient candy-making techniques, Frank and his early team members were hardly expert confectioners. In the beginning, all they had was a ping-pong table. Upon it, they would clumsily make too-big candy centers, which only got larger after needing several dips in chocolate to make them presentable. But now, oversize candy is one of Rocky Mountain's trademarks: two of their most popular items are the Bear, a "paw-sized concoction" of caramel, chocolate, and roasted nuts that will attack if it smells food, and the Bucket, an impossibly large peanut-butter cup with whipped filling. Shoppers can watch many of these creations being made right in-store, and satisfy their growing cravings with take-home candy packaged in decorative boxes and tins.