Every aspect of Kelly's of Naples reflects the essence of a swanky steakhouse. From the white tablecloths and leather booths and seats to the wood-paneled walls and dim, hanging lights in front of a full bar, the restaurant carries an air of sophistication matched only be its menu. Kelly's chefs don't rely on fancy preparation to impress their guests; instead they rely on the natural flavors in their ingredients, with steaks such as a bone-in porter or filet mignon not bearing any excess seasoning. Chefs prepare some steaks tableside as well, such as the steak diane, and the menu's entrees even dip into the sea with crab legs, lobster tail, and a rotating selection of fish flanks. Choice entrees are served at lunch as well, and Kelly's Sunday brunch offers a unique twist on many traditional breakfast dishes such as the jalapeño eggs benedict. Bar-goers can keep it low-key with a menu of sandwiches and appetizers ranging from escargot to prime rib, and the barkeeps can stir up any drink with their huge stores of liquor. To complement the food, live music fills the restaurant every evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hot wings, New York-style pizza, and Philly steak sandwiches may be the signature foods of the east coast, but it's hard to imagine any restaurant treating them with more reverence than west-coast franchise Alondra Hot Wings. The eponymous wings are the house specialty, hot and slathered in one of 18 sauces. Ranked on a scale from mild to atomic?which requires a waiver to order?the sauces also include flavors such as lemon pepper, spicy barbecue, maple syrup, and thai chili.
Alondra's other major influence is written all over the menu?and the walls. Mug shots of famous mafiosi hang throughout the dining room, and the owners are so fascinated by the subject that their website even offers tutorials in mob history. Also from that old Italian-American milieu: pizzas built on from-scratch dough, bearing names such as The Godfather?a hearty amalgam of four meats?and the Little Italy, which flecks chicken breast with basil. Draft beer and wine help mouths cool down after biting into a hot wing or almost insulting the ghost of Al Capone.
The event planners behind QueenVee Entertainment throw themed bashes that immerse partygoers in elaborate experiences. Founded by CEO Joanna Vargas—a producer, dancer, and choreographer who started her career by staging events such as The King of Pop, a dance-tribute show to Michael Jackson—QueenVee has staged past events such as Phenomena, a mash-up of a dance showcase and a fashion show that benefited Dance for Peace Charity. Ongoing events include booze cruises aboard a three-story Grand Romance cruise ship in the style of a 19th-century steamboat, complete with an open-air top deck and a team of acrobatic Mark Twain impersonators. Further amenities entertain the up to 320 passengers, including two full-service bars, a professional DJ playing over a large dance floor, and a professional photographer who posts images on Facebook. Raffle and door prizes reward attendees with keepsakes, and tables and booths offer respite from the dance floor and a private place to run Y2K safety drills.
Of all the things a bar could be well known for, eggs might be low on the list. At Baddeley's Pourhouse, however, pickled eggs become unlikely stars, especially when washed down with iconic crimson, blue, and silver cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. As patrons cluster in choruses of clinking cans and glasses, games flicker to life on seven high-definition televisions, which helped earn the tavern the No. 3 spot on CityVoter's list of Best Sports Bars in 2011. In a neon halo, a computerized jukebox spills out tunes and secret aspirations of becoming a food replicator on a starship missions. The cinnamon-hued felt of the pool table washes into the colors of red-topped bar stools, where customers perch as they order from the daily specials or discuss forming a synchronized swimming team for sponsorship by the alehouse.
"If you succeed, it will change your lives." Accountant Afram Nimeh uttered those words to his two sons in 1993 after investing the last of his savings into a failing restaurant. Though he passed away the following year, his sons?Joseph and Steven?carried on his legacy, Chicken Dijon Rotisserie & Grill. Today, they have expanded the family franchise to five locations, where customers gather to sample casual, healthy Mediterranean cuisine without having to build their own private jets. The kitchen staff efficiently assembles gyro and chicken platters flanked by sides such as rice pilaf, mediterranean potato salad, and stuffed grape leaves, as well as sandwiches topped with chicken, sliced gyro meat, or falafel.
Chef Rafi did not create Fresh Kabobs to get rich. He finds his reward in the opportunity to share authentic Indian dishes, such as tandoori chicken breast and grilled whole tilapia, with families in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. Inside his kitchen, chef Rafi draws from his pantry packed with USDA-choice Angus beef, fresh vegetables, and lamb imported from New Zealand to prepare each dish to order. Seated at dark-wood tables in the brightly lit dining area, patrons split spicy curry bowls brimming with basmati rice and sip mango lassis freshly blended with yogurt and spices. The dining area's high ceilings seem to extend to the stratosphere, past the red-tiled eaves and sky-blue murals dotted with fluffy white clouds shaped like cubes of paneer.