The Chew Chew?s chef and owner, Scott Zimmer, may be too young to have experienced the height of America?s railroad boom, but that doesn?t stop him from feeling nostalgic for it. Zimmer has turned that nostalgia into something interesting, outfitting his restaurant with antique rail menus and ancient photos of trains. He invites guests aboard his culinary express, treating them to American-inspired dishes such as Colorado lamb chops, chipotle-barbecue chicken flatbreads, and center-cut filet mignon steaks with lump crab. The space embraces natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the illusion of an al fresco dining experience and let anxious guests keep a lookout for actual runaway trains.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.
Falafelji’s development is nearly a century in the making. Owner Bilal Beiram traces the genesis of his Middle Eastern restaurant back to 1920, when his grandfather learned the trade of crafting falafel in a Middle Eastern port city. From this humble beginning, the grandfather became a globetrotting chef, later retiring and opening his own falafel shop, where Bilal started to help out at 10 years old and continued to do so during summer breaks. Inspired by his grandfather, Bilal infuses the menu of Falafelji—which means "falafel seller"—with authentic Middle Eastern flavors. The dishes, which range from vegetarian falafel sandwiches to kofta kebabs with minced lamb and beef, are available for delivery and takeout.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Landry's, Inc. operates more than 40 restaurant brands with only two main goals: good food and good memories. Thankfully, each of their venues has a signature element that's hard to forget, whether the Oceanaire's fresh seafood?flown in daily?or Rainforest Cafe's animatronic wildlife that's almost as realistic as the Amazon's wind-up monkeys. Steak and seafood spots feature prominently on the list of Landry's locations, including Morton's The Steakhouse, Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse, and McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks. But there are standouts in other genres, too, such as the Italian trattoria known as Grotto.