Avenue Deli's 35 sandwiches are built with Boar's Head meats, including German bologna, Genoa salami, and cracked-pepper turkey. Sandwich artists build specialty creations, such as the Thanksgiving Turkey with cranberry sauce and stuffing, and craft old standards, such as hot pastrami on one of 11 breads, including rye, focaccia, and onion roll. For the finishing touch on each sandwich, they look to a litany of 15 condiments and extras such as hummus and roasted red peppers. They also round out meals with a roster of salads and sides such as chili, and offer catering services.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company?now owned by the trio of siblings?reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
The man behind Savino's Grill is Tom Cutrone, a veteran chef who's pushing three decades in the cooking business. His menu of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine features cured Italian meats, artisanal cheeses, and entrees such as chive pappardelle, lamb loin chop with fried polenta, and pan-roasted salmon served over pasta shells—all of it enhanced by European wines. On Thursday nights, live jazz washes over guests as they enjoy their meals and stack complimentary bread rolls into the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Founded by longtime friends Jonathan Schwarz and Christopher Robbins, Stone Hearth Pizza builds its gourmet pies from organic, local, and sustainably produced ingredients. The casual pizzeria has expanded to six locations since opening in 2005?a pace of growth made possible by the popularity of chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt?s Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. New England craft beers complement the pizzas and pastas with a pleasantly bitter taste that reflects their conflicted attitude toward out-of-towners.
Named one of “The Most Authentic Restaurants” by the Boston Globe, Patou Thai offers an assortment of Thai specialties all crafted with a bit of an edge. One example: the halibut filet, which is pan-seared, then brushed with a sweet-and-spicy blend of mango-grilled eggplant salsa and curry sauce. Another refreshing left turn is the honey pork loin, served with fresh garlic oil, summer squash, and zucchini. Or, the green papaya salad, tossed with carrots, peanuts, grilled shrimp, and a spicy chili-lime dressing. Of course there are curries that cater to every taste, from a crispy duck rendition sautéed in hot Panang sauce to a lighter red curry that foregoes meat for vegetables and tofu. And, to help temper the spicy cuisine, the menu also includes a large selection of beers from Thailand, Japan, and Italy, and wines from Italy, Spain, and Sonoma, along with four types of sake.
If the name wasn’t enough of a clue, a close-to-empty donut case at 11 a.m. reveals the main draw of Linda's Donuts. Owner John, who has handcrafted donuts at Linda’s since 1982, rolls and shapes dough in the back while his wife, son, and daughter work the front of house, greeting customers, taking orders, and complimenting sock choices.
Customers line up for flavors such as chocolate-glazed and honey-dipped, waiting to dunk them into steaming cups of coffee while catching up on work using the shop’s free WiFi. After the donuts run out, customers turn to hearty sandwiches and burgers for lunch.