Columbus Grill was named for legendary explorer Christopher Columbus?an apt moniker, given chef Nuno Duarte's own trans-Atlantic voyages. The culinary maestro manned his own restaurants and catering companies in Switzerland, the United States, and his native Portugal before founding Columbus Grill as a way to flaunt his diverse epicurean skills locally. Today, he helms a team of chefs who boast similar international aptitude, drawing from their know-how of French, Greek, and Italian cuisines to sprinkle eclectic influences into Columbus Grill's eclectic recipes. Each member calls upon unique skills and talents to whip up Mediterranean, Portuguese, and Spanish dishes punctuated by classic American steak house fare and fresh, housemade desserts.
Columbus Grill's chic environs evoke elegance via custom-made furnishings, exposed beams that support a lofty ceiling, and a full bar surrounded by flat-screen TVs. A dark wooden wine rack looms above the dining area, where rich hardwood floors extend out to semiprivate dining enclaves carved into the room's walls. Further inside, a chic banquet hall hosts up to 140 revelers, and outside, a covered patio cushions diners during good weather or local mockingbirds' annual symphonies.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
The story of Cakes by Happy Eatery begins with a family who appreciates good food. Today, sisters and second-generation owners Victoria and Emily Wu continue to uphold the bakery's classic baking traditions while giving it a modern twist. It's here where a team of dedicated bakers and pastry chefs spend their days whipping up a staggering selection of pastries, cakes, and desserts. The baking gurus excel at showcasing both sweet and savory flavors; Chinese-style roast pork buns, hand-held chicken pot pies, and chicken salad sandwiches with seasonal champagne grapes rank among their most popular items. The bakery is best known, however, for its European genoise sponge cake, a light, never-cloying style of cake exuding a blend of signature sweetness. While Cakes by Happy Eatery prides itself on making old-fashioned creations using only real butter and sugar, those with restrictive diets will also find vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free delights.
In May 1932, the proud owner of Bushong’s Grocery posed for a photo in his shop, completely oblivious to the fact that in 80 years, it would have evolved into Simply Sweet on Main. Today, the coffeehouse still retains the homey air of his inviting store. Hardwood floors, worn by time and river-dancing, stretch out beneath clusters of tables, plush chairs, and a counter surrounded by whitewashed wood paneling. On colorful chalkboards, a hand-scrawled menu features coffee, espresso, and smoothies bursting with flavors such as passion orange guava or pineapple and coconut. Beverages are served with wraps, sandwiches, and paninis stuffed with meats and veggies. Soothing ears are the songs of live musicians and the soft taps of laptop keyboards as their owners surf free WiFi.
Romance is in the air at Carmello's, where diners perch on ivory padded chairs surrounded by the warm tones of exposed brick walls, dark wood, and golden accents. In crafting its dishes of seafood, pasta, and chops from scratch, the kitchen draws on Italian and Portuguese influences. The ingredients are fresh from local purveyors, so the offerings change with the seasons. These dishes can be complemented by selections from the eatery's wine menu—its more than 50 Portuguese wines earned it Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence and two thumbs up from Bob.
Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company’s chefs hand blend gourmet spices into dry rubs whose flavors have been carefully honed over the past nine years. This same quest to refine spice, meat, and sauce led the company to found a competitive team of barbecuers to test their new recipes against pitmasters across the United States. The crew, which flavors all its meats with Dizzy Pig products, has earned 11 wins in grand championships in its 10-year history.