In 1964, brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel banded together to come up with a new restaurant concept. Arby's took off almost immediately on the coattails of its hallmark roast-beef sandwich and the founders’ idea of providing customers with fast, quality food. Over the company's 48-year franchise history, its foundational pièce de résistance of thinly sliced, juicy beef has been served in a many permutations, and continues to be popular today, served at more than 3,500 stores in North America. Today’s menu still ignites appetites with traditional beef sandwiches, plus hot and seasoned curly fries, fresh-chopped salads, and desserts good for richly capping off meals or bribing any bridge trolls on the way home.
Mansour Zand, owner of Willow Creek Inn, has transformed an early 20th-century farmhouse into a venue for fine dining. He's facilitated this change through an internationally inspired approach to cooking as well as design. Using fresh produce and herbs from his own garden, he composes plates of European-style chicken, fish, and beef. This ever-changing cuisine is most often served in the formal dining room, which is adorned with lace drapes and antique furniture, or at the intimate chef's table, where groups of up to 16 can take in views of the countryside and watch the chef prepare the meal. Larger parties, meanwhile, take root on the open-air terrace or in the garden pavilion.
Not much has changed at Jones Fish Camp since Bryant and Viney Jones opened their Maiden restaurant in 1952. It's still run by the same family, with Bryant's grandson Garrett Goodson at the helm and his immediate family as support staff. Even more importantly, Jones Fish Camp still uses the very same recipes that have made it such a popular local destination for the past 60 years. All of the fish here is hand-breaded to order?something that will never change, thanks to some dedicated long-time customers who even put up a fuss when Garrett considered changing the booths. One good thing that's different? Now, diners have the option of ordering their fish broiled instead of fried.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Two decades removed from the opening of their first restaurant, the native Thai owners of Thai House continue to season meats, curries, and seafood with tropical Asian spices and embellish their three locations with hand-whittled teakwood silhouettes. Half-roasted duck and grilled shrimp swim in rice and noodles before catching cool, creamy waves of thai iced tea. Curries cascade over mounds of jasmine or brown rice imported from Thailand, and flotillas of Japanese sushi and sashimi cast their anchors alongside the spicy array of Thai fare. Mesmerizing notes of Thai music pervade the dining room, scoring dinner conversations and sword duels between chopsticks.
This sunlit, primarily New York–inspired eatery is infused with southern hospitality, serving up fresh, savory cuisine ideal for casual lunchers and geographically torn taste buds. Soups rotate daily, starting the week with broccoli and cheese and concluding with Friday's creamy potato ($2.98 for a small, $3.95 for a large). Gold-rushing appetites can hop aboard the California panini, a bread wagon packed full of turkey, spinach, cheddar cheese, and avocado ($4.25 for a half, $6.50 for a whole), and New York–deli purists can pledge allegiance to a Reuben, a trusted committee of corn-beef, sauerkraut, swiss-cheese, and thousand-island-dressing dreams standing firmly on a foundation of pumpernickel ($6.75). Add a side salad, such as the verdant garden salad ($2.95) or the sweet spring salad ($3.95), to grant green Jell-O a natural friend on your personal food pyramid.