Chef Ray Gage stands behind his restaurant’s white-tiled counter, clutching his CB radio microphone like some barbecue chefs might clutch their tongs. The radio is just as crucial to his roadside barbecue business as the slabs of meat roasting in the smoker out back. That’s because Ray advertises to passing truckers via CB channel 16, jotting down orders and delivering them to surrounding truck stops or demolition derbies.
Rays knows his meals must be hearty enough to fuel the bellies of truckers barreling down I-55. To that end, he smokes thick slabs of beef and pork on beds of hickory in the small shack behind his restaurant, and slathers them in sweet, tangy sauce. He then serves hunks of meat with dollops of traditional southern sides, such as baked beans and potato salad.
The friendly staff at this vintage-infused downtown boutique helps shoppers stuff their wardrobes with fashionable apparel from well-known and up-and-coming designers. Ladies can suit up for formal cocktail parties and formal grocery-store runs with sleek black dresses from Thalia ($120), and men can don threads from labels such as Rocksmith, made famous by the award-winning rap artist and three-time bronze-medal curling champion Lil Wayne. Shoes, such as a blue pumps from Jessica Simpson ($88) or wheat-colored angus loafers from Pointer Footwear, keep toes stylishly safe from bubblegum on the pavement, and shirts such as the blue Original Penguin polo ($59) help men hide marriage-proposal chest tattoos until just the right time.
With all the finery and elegance of an authentic English tearoom, Crumpets delivers a delectable lunch and afternoon tea to parched patrons in search of Anglo-Saxon atmosphere. Outside, a garden of perennials blooms around the patio, lending aromatic views to multi-sensed sippers slurping a variety of teas, coffees, and wines. Chef Stephen Sciara's lunch menu packs a chorus line of comestibles, including a pub burger ($11), tea sandwich sampler ($16), and Cornish pasties ($12) to high-kick hunger. A traditional full cream tea ($19.50) is served Thursday through Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and includes a pot of tea or coffee, finger sandwiches, and freshly baked scones with jam and double Devon cream—triply tasty than single cream, according to recent studies by a panel of cockney child pickpockets. Reservations are required for full cream tea and recommended for lunch.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
In the center of a soft green room stands an old, brick fireplace that warms surrounding diners with a display of quirky dog photos and shelves lined with snacks and chips. But the friendly atmosphere isn't what draws customers to Bogies Deli; it's the sandwiches piled high with Boar's Head meats and cheeses and the sides of housemade pasta salad. Along with pastrami and turkey sandwiches, their specialties include crisp, grilled-chicken Caesars and tuna-salad sandwiches. At the front of the store, a glass display case protects key-lime squares and turtle-cheesecake slices, and a row of glass cake stands holds multi-tiered cakes and one very expensive banana.
At his eponymous restaurant, Balewa Bayete transforms into practice the theory he has accrued over 30 years as a raw vegan nutrition consultant. His menu of radically unprocessed cuisine reflects the range of his multidecade vegan practice, with such delectable options as the New Live Burger, whose sprout-based patty sits between an ezekiel bun slathered with zesty walnut spread. Soups include the Luv Sprout, which mixes wheatberries into a piping-hot medley of in-season greens. Drinks such as the Jamaican Brew—made with pineapple juice, ginger, cayenne, and peppermint—come served warm or cold to combat inclement weather or throw off stalkers' infrared scans.