Fiesta Mexican Grill's chefs dish up generous portions of authentic Mexican classics. Dinner combinations serve to assault taste buds with a cornucopia of different textures and flavors, as duos such as enchiladas and tacos arrive in time to battle their alter egos, chile poblano and enchiladas, and stop them from destroying the moon. Lunch ushers in similarly crafted pursuits, as chile poblanos, tacos, and burritos vie for placement next to beans and rice, with sightings of guacamole salad. Mouths anxiously awaiting the arrival of satisfying entrees can step away from the edge with appetizers such as guacamole, cheese, or bean dips, while nachos available in different toppings send tiny tortilla planes to taxi on tarmac tongues.
Cronies Grill complements its show-stopping menu of comforting American comestibles with regular entertainment for the eyes, ears, and feet, including weekly karaoke and dancing nights. Patrons can prepare themselves to sing like a bird with platters of Cronies' locally famous jumbo chicken wings ($7.99 for 10 wings), doused in secret spices before fried until golden. Homemade onion strings ($5.99) and garlic poppers ($5.99) further hone hand-mouth coordination so that customers can safely attack fully loaded sandwiches such as the 2/3-pound Crony burger ($9.49), topped with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, BBQ barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese ($9.49). An all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar ($6.99) pleases leaf lovers with hot and cold plates of omnivorous treats, and Southwestern favorites such as beef or chicken quesadillas ($7.99–$8.99) and grilled shrimp fajitas ($14.99) satisfy south-of-the-border taste buds residing in the lower chin.
Although Onyx Bar and Grill's live entertainment rotates among comedy, music, and karaoke, one source of amusement remains constant: sports. Flat-screen TVs throughout the spacious bar showcase the day's biggest games, which patrons can enjoy over wine, spirits, or 12 draft beers. Besides sports, those libations complement feasts that put a creative spin on bar-food classics. Alongside crowning burgers with Mexican-inspired fixings like jalapeños and chipotle aioli, cooks toss wings in 12 different sauces, including honey bourbon and mango habanero. The culinary team takes a more traditional, upscale approach to main entrees with dishes like hand-carved tuna seared medium rare and paired with lemon-dill sauce.
At Hawkeyes Lounge, attached to Hawk's View Restaurant, friends get together and belly up to the bar to watch the game on flat-screen TVs, sip sudsy brews, and nosh on wings. They also divvy up pizza pies before sauntering up to the mic on Thursday and Friday nights to belt out tunes by their favorite bands during karaoke events or moments of serious identity crisis.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
When Rockford Register Star reviewer Anna Derocher stopped by Coco Joe's, she didn't hesitate to bring her family. The all-American grill and ice-cream shop did not disappoint; "All of us went home stuffed," she writes, including her 9-year-old son who gave "two thumbs up" to his double cheeseburger. The menu of hot sandwiches and crinkle cut french fries was even enough to satisfy Derocher's 14-year-old niece, who was pleased to find her chicken sandwich crispy instead of greasy. The housemade root beer was by far the family favorite, a suitably sweet prelude to desserts of chocolate shakes, M&M's-dotted flurries, and waffle cones so big they double as dunce caps. None of the dishes—from the fried-fish sandwiches to the hearty bowls of chili—are pre-made, but the Derocher family agrees that each treat is "worth the wait."