In 1975, when The Melting Pot originally opened just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter by the name of Mark Johnston opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, The Melting Pot—now owned by Mark and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as a premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On any given night, groups of dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on fondue appetizers before cooking their steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Steep your brain with flavorful promises of a menu to plot out an early-morning caffeine infusion, mid-day lunch treat, or late night drive-by brainwiring. Phoenix's coffees are brewed fresh from their very own beans, so have a cup of old-school joe to return to the café's roots (up to $1.70), or punch your taste buds with the devil's brew (coffee with a shot of espresso, up to $2.50). Chug their namesake with a cup of Café Phoenix, a mocha made with their signature locally produced chocolate syrup and an extra shot of espresso ($3.60), or hammer your endocrine system with the indulgent excesses of their Stuporball—two kinds of custom-blended coffee, two different chocolate syrup infusions, and an extra shot of espresso (up to $4). Tea lovers get some love at Phoenix, too—premium oolong, white, and select black or green tea varieties are available iced or hot (up to $2.40), while the house-made artisan Chai latte arrives steamed and creamy (up to $3.20). You can also upgrade to larger drinks and pay the difference.
Alesci’s embraces family traditions. If it’s not already apparent by the third generation of brothers who co-manage the deli and grocer, it shimmers to the surface in the stories of old regulars and those who remember Grandpa Frank Alesci. Starting with Frank, and now for more than 50 years, the Alesci family has curated a collection of imported products, providing immigrants with the sought-after goods from across the pond. Beyond that, it’s a place for fresh, crusty bread, pizza, a myriad of cheeses, and deli meats sliced by hand. Inside the 7,000-square-foot location, shelves are lined with everything from polenta to biscotti, olives to olive oil, and peppers who share space with their natural enemy: the tomato.
At Streat Burger, guests construct their meals with Ohio farm-raised beef, pulled pork, or quinoa patties before piling them high with seasonal greens, spicy relishes, and flavorful toppings. Each custom-made sandwich, fresh salad, or basket of hand-cut fries pairs with a frosty beverage from the craft beer list, full of dozens of selections ranging from refreshing watermelon wheat to crisp, hoppy double IPAs.
Qdoba's burrito baristas handcraft a catering menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine, customizable with a panoply of fresh ingredients for a taco, nacho, or burrito bar. Qdoba's culinary crafters craft succulent fillings for burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, including protein-packing choices, such as slow-roasted pulled pork, adobo-marinated grilled steak or chicken, and spiced shredded or ground beef, with vegetarian options also available. Taste the gooey flavor accents of the signature queso sauce, a three-cheese blend with roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and jalapeños, the pinto or black beans simmered in cumin and onion, or the creamy, hand-smashed guacamole that's ideal for filling up Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded guacamole chalice. Tortilla chips with salsa bar and desserts complete each catered event, and customers can opt for burrito-boxed lunches and any add-ons.
Cleats possesses the official chicken wing of the Cleveland Indians, which is dipped in an extra-hot bronze sauce and guarded by multi-headed beasts. Despite the selection of more than 50 domestic and imported beers and more than enough sports fans to match each one, the establishment is family friendly and happy to serve patrons with progeny in tow. Cleats' menu is a cornucopia of casual American fare, with starters such as spinach artichoke dip ($6.99) and beer-batter-fried pickles ($4.99) at hand to combat raging appetites. Keep it light with a Greek salad ($9.99 large, $7.99 small), or tuck in for the night with a Texas hold 'em burger ($8.99), a beef slab fitted with a cowboy hat of bacon, cheddar, onion rings, and house-made barbecue sauce. If you prefer to keep your meat bites separate from your carb bites, choose from 22 signature wing sauces and order up a combo plate of eight wings and six soft pretzel sticks ($9.99).