Family owned and operated, Carlo's Copa Room features an expansive dinner menu stocked with authentic, homemade Italian dishes rich in flavor and character. Matronly tastemaker Kathy "Nani" Fiorello's hand-rolled, olive-oil-fried meatballs are a homespun favorite, sidekicked by her savory sugo sauce ($9.99). Also beloved is her piquant balsamic vinaigrette, which arrives drizzled atop the classic house salad ($7.50). Swingin' stomachs croon for the ravioli Sinatra's tomato cream sauce, prosciutto, and mushrooms ($18.99). And tappy tongues perform a daring dairy-dance in anticipation of the fresh romano cheese and rich cream of the penne alfredo ($16.99, with veggies, chicken, or shrimp available for an additional charge). The succulent homemade cheesecake with strawberry sauce ($6.99) and traditional spumoni ($6) ably furnish any leftover stomach space, and Carlo's copious white and red wines satisfy sippers.
Lording over a spicy pantheon of food is Panzon's extensive tequila selection, encompassing more than 100 different varieties, with a large number of premium, super-premium, ultra-premium, and premium-premium tequilas. The colorful interior is a-bristle with folk art from local and Southwestern aesthetes, adding atmosphere to generously apportioned meals such as the chili relleno ($5.59) or grande tamale (starting at $4.29). Knock back plates of santa fe montadas, a layered enchilada with tortillas, black beans, monterey jack cheese, and a tasty heap of grilled chicken with rice and beans ($8.09), or find charm in the extravagant extra-large chimichanga, dandied in a toasty tortilla frock coat with a top hat of sour cream ($9.99).
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
The people behind Gambino’s Pizza really love pizza, and they’ll make any pie in the shape of a heart to prove it. Traditional round pies are on the menu, too, in five sizes and three crust options: original, thin, or buttery pan. Specialty pizzas overflow with meats, veggies, and a blend of shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese. Some are even topped with sweet pineapple to round out the food pyramid. Diners can also order oven-baked subs and individual- or family-size pasta dishes that come with garlic bread and napkins folded into tiny togas.
KC Grill ‘N Kabob’s owner, Hamid Tafreshi, is proud of his feature on Check, Please! Kansas City because it has raised awareness about Persian and Iranian cooking. The piece also shared nuggets of information about the eatery, including the fact that chefs there marinate halal lamb, chicken, and filet mignon kebabs for anywhere from 12–24 hours in turmeric, ginger, saffron, and cumin.
In the eatery, the aromas of grilling onions and tomatoes swirl up past a gleeful clutter of photographs, from which Iranian soccer players, cooks, and families grin. Skewered morsels of flame-kissed salmon and gyros draped with a thin lace of tzatziki sauce cover tables. After dipping bread in cool bowls of hummus and baba ghanouj, guests can venture to the all-you-can-eat weekend buffet to practice before competitive-eating contests or visits from detectives looking for candy smugglers.
At Edokko, the fanfare of teppanyaki shows has been exchanged for the peace of a secluded bamboo forest—an ambiance bolstered by the stalks that grow near the entrance. As guests pass between the greenery and the clear surface of a koi pond, they enter into a gold-and-red dining room, where polished stones form mosaics of grappling sumo wrestlers on the walls. At the sushi bar, 18 seats line a granite countertop, allowing diners prime views of chefs as the chefs prepare maki rolls, nigiri, and sashimi.
It seems that a tabletop performance would only serve to disrupt the serenity of the restaurant, says a review in the Pitch, because "the food puts on its own show." Guests receive overtures in the form of detailed picture menus that stoke appetites more safely than jumper cables connected to bellybuttons. The traditional Japanese dishes range from teriyaki meats to noodle soups, and visitors can still order hibachi plates, but without the flashy routine. Specialty rolls such as the crab-and-mango roll or the rainbow-caviar roll collect fresh seafood in expertly wrapped rice and seaweed, and tempura desserts encase cheesecake, bananas, and ice cream in a crispy shell.