The pizza makers at Palio's Pizza Cafe crown regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free crusts with fresh vegetables, preservative-free sauce, and roasted chicken. Chefs take the burden of putting together the best toppings with 17 specialty pizzas that pair gourmet ingredients such as artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, and fresh basil pesto. Ovens create bubbling pies, stuffed calzones, baked ziti, and italian sub sandwiches that servers carry through both chic, cozy locations. Leather-lined booths and flat-screen televisions keep diners comfortable and entertained while they enjoy Palio's BYOB policy and sip wine or Capri Sun pouches brought from home.
In a red barn that conjures up Americana with western décor, the cooks at Parker Brothers Traildust Steakhouse sizzle the signature steaks and classic dinner fare that comprise the restaurant's menu. Start with an appetizer, such as the Ultimate Platter, an amalgam of onion sticks, cheese sticks, jalapeño strips, cheese-stuffed jalapeño peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. After properly stretching stomach muscles, dive into steaks that are grilled over mesquite wood to capture an authentically smoky, southwest-style taste. The Hoss, a 12 oz. center-cut sirloin ($14.99), and the T-bone Cowboy ($19.99), saturate the mouth with tenderness and mesquite flavor. Less-steaky dinner options include seafood, chicken, and many delectable desserts, such as New York–style cheesecake, berry cobbler, and pecan pie. Then stir about in a rhythmic pattern on the large dance floor.
Sports bar are traditionally spaces where adults gather over pints to enjoy the day's biggest games. That's certainly the case at Varsity Roadhouse, where domestic and imported drafts pair perfectly with sports and coin-toss bloopers shown on the bar's 15 HD TVs. But the eatery also appeals to youngsters by serving free children's meals every Monday–Wednesday, as well as hosting kid's karaoke each Wednesday.
Entertainment isn't the only thing that entices all ages to visit Varsity Roadhouse. Cooks also tempt palates with bar food classics such as wings and shrimp tossed in a choice of 11 sauces, including lemon pepper and spicy honey barbecue. Slow-cookers simmer succulent ribs and brisket, while housemade batches of chips, salsa, and queso cater to nacho enthusiasts and vegetarians alike.
For more than a decade, The Varsity Roadhouse has kept appetites at bay with burgers, sandwiches, and of course, wings. The restaurant's signature wings arrive at tables hot and slathered with 10 different sauces, including smokey barbecue and garlic parmesan. While chowing down and composing a list of reasons why wing-eating should be an Olympic event, guests can lose themselves in the 160-inch HD projector screens beaming the day's sports games. Meanwhile, kids have it made at Varsity, too: they can win prizes in the game room, and they eat for free Monday–Wednesday.
At Centro Restaurant-Lounge, the only commonality between morning and evening are the orange chandeliers dripping glass filigree toward the floor. "After 10 o'clock we move the tables to the kitchen," says manager Francisco Ibarra. Then, DJs spin furious dance beats for a crowd of partygoers. Well-stocked bars center both the lounge and outdoor patio, which is further augmented with umbrellas and cabanas.
Despite the lounge's dramatic transformation, "before 10 o'clock it's like a normal restaurant," Ibarra says. Its menu is the brainchild of Ibarra and his longtime friend, Marcos Hernandez, who began crying deeply while cutting onions alongside his mother when he was 7 years old. "Now he has a lot of authentic Mexican food talent," Ibarra says. Using Hernandez's culinary gift and Ibarra's flair for business, the two have elevated Centro's cuisine with the addition of flavorful cactus flowers, Mexican corn bread, and a steak marinade with traditional spices.
Inside McSwiggan’s jovial dining enclave, grill masters meld the warmth of an Irish pub with a menu of New England–influenced fare. Nosh plates of lightly breaded and fried pickles ($5.99), dunking them into accompanying cups of ranch dressing or, for culinary exhibitionists, hot urns of Clam Chowdah’ ($1.99 cup for lunch, $2.99 cup for dinner). Layers of New England–style lobster salad ($12.99) claw their way to the tops of toasted buns, while slabs of Icelandic haddock filet ($9.99) shimmy through seas of beer batter before flopping exhaustedly into waiting maws.