Pietro’s has baked hand-tossed New York–style pizza, calzones, and hot sandwiches in a stone gas oven for more than 30 years, each hand-crafted from secret Sicilian family recipes. Oven-baked steak and cheese sandwiches taunt tasteless rulers with 12 inches of deliciousness ($7.99), and three-cheese spinach calzones turn and fold the doughtables on regular pizzas ($6.49). The eatery employs 100 percent whole milk mozzarella in the construction of each specialty pie, such as the Hawaiian luau pizza, a festive mouth mingler with juicy pineapple and baked ham in a bubbling blanket of mozzarella cheese ($15.99 for a 14”; $19.99 for an 18”). Patrons are also free to itemize pizza by the slice, minimizing leftovers and risk of marinara audits.
Gee whiz, Skip, is it true that Cheeburger Cheeburger's been voted Best Burger in 29 Cities? Yup. This is a real 1950s-style hot spot. This is a place that takes pride in serving additive-free, 100% all-natural Angus beef and frothy milk shakes in thousands of possible flavors. Amidst vintage-inspired decor, cooks fry freshly cut Idaho potatoes and onion rings in cholesterol-free peanut oil and top American-bred, vegetarian-fed beef with more than 25 toppings. Modern day soda jerks also add one of more than a dozen syrups to flavored sodas and scoop ice cream into floats fizzing with cola, root beer, Dr. Pepper, or the lesser-known Pepper sibling, Gary, who forever lives in the shadow of his brother's medical degree.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
From humble beginnings as a single donut shop in Lakewood, California, in 1953, Denny's has grown into a nationwide destination for classic American diner food served around the clock. After starting off as Danny's Donuts, the shop quickly expanded to a second location and began offering sandwiches. In just six more years, Danny's Donuts had morphed into Denny's and split into 20 franchises. Today, more than 1,700 locations thrive across the nation, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any time that diners walk into or gleefully roll through their eatery.
Sombreros and colorful blankets decorate the marigold walls of Los Enchilado's, a festive Gladewater restaurant that specializes in Mexican cuisine. Here, quesadillas, tacos, and cheesy enchiladas are routinely washed down with ice-cold margaritas and daiquiris. Though most people don't need an excuse to spend a night at Los Enchilado's, it doesn't hurt that the restaurant routinely shows World Cup and other soccer games.