Touting the Best Burgers in the Full-Service Chains category according to the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Red Robin features gourmet burgers stacked high with manifold fixings. The chain started in the 1940s under the name Sam's Tavern, where its proprietor Sam could be heard singing "When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)." He loved that old tune so much that he changed his tavern's name to Sam's Red Robin. Today, Red Robin still serves up the same gourmet burgers that put it on the culinary map in 1973—such as the Royal Red Robin burger topped with a fried egg—but the menu also includes more than 15 fire-grilled burgers, hearty mac 'n' cheese with riblets, zesty mexican grilled chicken, and towers of crispy onion rings.
Red Robin's aptly named 'Green Team' ensures that the chain implements green initiatives. All of Red Robin's produce is pesticide-free, and all of its eggs come from suppliers that do not use battery cages. The company is also dedicated to using recycled and recyclable packing and shipping materials sourced from suppliers certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and high-fived by Mother Nature.
When Jim Kiest of the San Antonio Express-News visited Hooligan’s Bar & Grill, he left with one important takeaway: “It is a great place to hang out when you’re not quite sure what you want to do. You’ll figure it out when you get there.” Kiest hit the nail on the head, given Hooligan’s eclectic collection of events and games. On any given night, a DJ might spin current hits for patrons to tap dance to or a cover band might storm the stage and pump out jams from the 1970s, ‘80s, or ‘90s. The music supplies a lively soundtrack for free rounds of poker, coin-operated pool games, an arsenal of darts and video games, and even dodge-ball matches.
Regardless of the ever-changing events schedule, patrons will always find three staples at Hooligan’s—food, drinks, and plenty of TVs. While watching Monday-night football or a UFC fight, bar-goers can munch mild to extra-hot wings, classic 8-ounce burgers, and individual pizzas, all washed down by domestic beers or fun cocktails such as cherry bombs and washington apples.
Bright-red walls surround the inside of Flaco’s Burgers & Tacos, which serves a menu of hand-formed burgers given a satisfying crust from a flattop grill and a variety of intriguing sauces and toppings. The Texas burger comes with barbecue sauce and bacon, and a burger named after a mysterious Eric fellow belies his hearty appetite with double meat, two cheeses, and bacon. Tough taste buds rise to the challenge of the Flaming Flaco burger, which is stuffed with grilled jalapeños, cheese, and grilled onions before getting a topper of standard burger fixings—mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. The eatery also folds tacos and burritos full of fillings such as carne asada, chicken fajita, or pork chop. Fresh-cut fries and free WiFi accompany meals, eaten while patrons chat among themselves or gaze at a large flat-screen TV along the wall.
Both a quick pit-stop for grabbing a coffee and homemade pastry and a respite for sitting down for lunch and lingering a while, Hearthstone Express functions as a coffee shop and bistro. The cooks usher in the day with breakfast, scrambling eggs and tucking them into buttery croissants with spinach-artichoke spread and crispy bacon. Meanwhile, the bakers whip up pastries such as danishes, scones, and bagels to complement cups of coffee. For lunch, the cooks move on to gourmet sandwiches and paninis; best-sellers include Alicia's club—turkey, avocado spread, mozzarella, and honey dijon on a croissant—and the turkey artichoke panini, topped with spinach-artichoke spread. But the staff is open to customers' own creations as well, making Build Your Own sandwiches. Diners can pick their meat, bread, cheese, veggies, and dressings, and name it anything they want, such as Janet.
At Genghis Grill, cooks stir-fry more than 70 fresh ingredients to make healthy, flavorful bowls loaded with proteins and vegetables. Diners can mix and match ingredients to create customized feasts, or choose signature dishes such as the Thai Chicken bowl with chicken, veggies, and udon noodles in red curry peanut sauce. Nutrition-focused heart-healthy bowls, developed with the help of a dietitian, feature flavor combinations such as Sichuan-style bamboo beef or ginger-citrus shrimp.
The interiors of The Lion & Rose pubs emulate the convivial atmosphere of British and Irish settings, with each corner of the restaurant ornamented with vintage wall sconces and handmade wood decor. The draught list overflows with imported pints such as Boddingtons and Smithwick's, while the menu includes unusual specialties such as chips and curry alongside shepherd's pie and bangers, mash, and beans. As befits a sports bar, locations boast plasma TVs tuned to the biggest games as well as dartboards where friends can challenge one another.