Louie Demirakos devised Clearwater Charlie's in his late father's name, creating an homage to his unfulfilled vision for—in Charlie’s words—an “eat it and beat it” establishment. The menu is scrawled on chalkboards above the kitchen assembly line, and dishes hit the counter on paper plates, which conveniently fold into paper sailboats to float leftovers home. Though the restaurant gives top billing to seafood, Charlie’s specialty, it also incorporates a slew of American dishes such as barbecue chicken and pork, steak, and burgers with a choice of 22 toppings. The restaurant is also entirely nut-free, ensuring that food-sensitive diners can safely savor any dish that emerges from the bustling kitchen.
Kansas City Smokehouse’s hickory-wood smokers slow-cook succulent meats in the tradition of Missouri barbecue masters. Barbecued meets, including beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked kielbasa pile on plates by the quarter pound. Tender st. louis ribs or one half of a barbecued chicken share platter space with cornbread and classic sides, such as Cajun rice, collard greens, baked beans, and sweet-potato fries. Chefs dust catfish and skewered shrimp in their signature kansas city dry rub, searing in the spices on a cast-iron griddle heated with their laser vision. Nineteen craft and domestic beers accent the smoky hues, or pair up with a bevy of burgers or steaks.
Owned by baseball legend and semiprofessional magician Darryl Strawberry, Strawberry's Sports Grill pleases crowds and palates with a menu of updated American favorites and thoughtful comfort food. Slide head- and feet-first into a plate of crawfish-and-cheddar hushpuppies ($8.95) or get started with some championship chili ($7.95), loaded with enough ground beef, brisket, red beans, peppers, and onions to dominate chili challenges and handball round-robins. A bevy of burgers features beef, lamb, turkey, and falafel options, including the Hellenic 1986 burger ($12.95), with a lamb patty, feta cheese, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce, and Strawberry's "Double Beef" burger ($14.95), whose beef patty is stuffed with chopped brisket and topped with fried onions and barbecue sauce. Barbecued ribs ($18.95) and chicken ($16.95) are smoked in-house, while surf and turf ($29.95) pits land (16-ounce rib eye) against sea (fried shrimp) in the greatest elemental cage match since wind defeated fire in 1937.
Zorn's award-winning fried chicken comes in old-fashioned boxes, buckets, and gigantic baskets with homemade fixins and all-time-favorite sides. Pair a half-chicken dinner for one (rotisserie-style $8.49, fried $9.99) with two of sixteen sides such as creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, or garlic mashed potatoes ($2.39 individual, $4.29 large). Or, high-five Freud with a bucket o' breasts: four plump, juicy pieces of skinless white meat Southern-fried to a deep-golden, crunchy glow ($12.99). For a competitive-eating party, pour 50 barbecued wings from a bucket onto the table and devour a path to glory ($29.95). Click here to see the full menu.
The resident grill masters at Uncle Jimmy’s Backyard BBQ baste ribs, chicken, and pulled pork with zesty sauces, rounding out their menu of flame-kissed grub. Diners can oil rusty jaw hinges with meal-prefacing portions of fried zucchini strings ($6.50) or rent a forklift to ferry caramelized onions, fresh ricotta, and pulled pork from slices of barbecue pita pizza ($8) into waiting mouths. Rotisserie grilled chicken ($12 for a half bird) arrives dressed in barbecue sauce or lemon oreganata, and the Pig Out combo platter ($17) conquers carnivorous hunger pangs with a mighty triumvirate of pulled pork, ribs, and italian sausage. Each entree, such as the popular kansas city baby back ribs ($16 for a half slab), comes with two side dishes, such as sweet mashed potatoes or corn muffins, arriving on plates known to begin tugs of war with diners for the rights to them.
Soco’s proprietors had a vision: to create a neighborhood institution that is equal parts restaurant and cocktail bar. With food and drink offerings such as the pecan-crusted pork chop and a caramel martini topped with a toasted marshmallow, it’s hard not to sample both sides of the business on any given visit. Before Soco opened, its owners and executive chef Kingley John all worked together at Negril Village, a West Village Caribbean eatery. That experience inspired the group to shape Soco’s menu into the fusion of southern-American classics and Caribbean influences now on its lunch, brunch, dinner, and cocktail menus. In practice, that combination brings about flavorful plates such as blackened salmon and jambalaya with seared shrimp, Andouille chicken sausage, and dirty rice. Grass-fed beef burgers are accentuated with caramelized onions, red-bean mayonnaise, and parmesan-dusted fries, and at lunch, organic fried chicken tops a red velvet waffle. The wait staff can also recommend food pairings with Boylan’s cane soda, 20 American microbrews, or the bar’s 10 signature cocktails. As an homage to Soco’s home borough, designer Andres Aladin drew up plans for the eatery to look like “the Brooklyn Bridge turned into a restaurant.” To accomplish that feat, he juxtaposed industrial elements such as locally sourced steel with the homey feel of exposed brick, walnut walls, and a rotating staff of mothers who watch until you clean your plate.