Tutored in the ways of cookie craftwork, Cookies, etc.'s team of bakers bend batter to their will to bake a variety of tantalizing treats from scratch using tested family recipes. Take the echo out of lonely cookie jars with a lid- and taste bud-lifting dozen baked discs in any combination of six flavors. The chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie settles exponential cocoa cravings by embedding milk-chocolate chips into a chewy brownie circle, and the pecan-chocolate-chip cookie infuses a nutborne crunch to please textural tasters. Cookies, etc.'s Frankenstein refreshment fabricators have harnessed all the powers of edible science to assemble the monster cookie, a rich blend of crunchy peanut butter and oatmeal dough packed with M&M'S and chocolate chips.
Southern Smoke Shack's culinary artisans cake fresh cuts of quality meat with dry rubs concocted from family recipes, slowly smoking the porcine and bovine delicacies that appear on the menu over select wood pairings and slathering the creations with house-made sauces upon request. Cherry-smoked bourbon baby-back ribs seal in their succulent flavor with a rub, as well as a delicate glaze of 4 Brothers bourbon normally reserved for adult-back ribs, decorating tables for dinner (half rack, $9.99; full rack, $18.99) or lunch (lunch rack, $5.99). The smoky sweetness of mesquite radiates from the texas brisket sandwich ($5.99–$8.99), and the pork of the smokestack sandwich arrives buried beneath strata of roasted peppers, jack cheese, and diablo sauce ($5.99–$8.99).
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.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of French-American cuisine at brunch or lunch. • For $20, you get $40 worth of French-American cuisine and drinks after 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Restaurant's blend of fine French recipes with hardy American ingredients increases gustatory alliances at tables sprinkled throughout its homey dining rooms. In a contemporary take on the timeless roasted duck a l’orange, Grand Marnier and seasonal fruit accompaniments simmer next to a crispy quarter of tender duck ($16). After being pan seared and flambéed with cognac, the steak au poivre's black-peppercorn-encrusted fillet bathes in delicious blend of crème fraîche and bordelaise sauce next to a potato, pasta, or vegetables ($20). The salmon mosaic weaves strips of wild Alaskan salmon and fresh Canadian walleye into a replica of Starry Night before a light poaching and drizzle of lemon beurre blanc and dill ($18). Capturing the essences of classic French cuisine, the chicken coq au vin slow cooks locally raised chicken with bacon, pearl onions, and mushrooms in a red-wine sauce ($19 for dinner, $13 for lunch).
Housed in a charming red-brick building, Bilotti's Italian Village churns out a menu of American favorites and old country specialties to silence grousing stomachs. Nestled cozily within casual environs, diners can oil rusty jaw hinges with starters such as the fried clams ($5.99 for a small order) and Italian pasta's archenemy, Italian antipasta ($10.99 per two-person platter). Sink saucy incisors into a smattering of entrees, including the chicken italianne ($10.99), featuring fettuccini pasta fraught with chicken, marinara, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, or the amphibious Sea & Shore ($16.99), which marries a 6-ounce fillet of walleye pike and a 7-ounce tenderloin steak to form a delightful duo, like a silent, edible Sonny and Cher. Meanwhile, the pizza oven fires up dough disks, including the Bilotti's Ultimate ($21.24 for a 14-inch pie), on which a righteous triumvirate of pepperoni, canadian bacon, and ground beef dance across a field of green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pineapples. Offered all day, breakfast dishes, such as steak and eggs ($11.99), confound morning news anchors and goad cadres of confused roosters into crowing at sunset. While enjoying delicious bites and discussing the proper way to braid spaghetti, wash down a mighty meal with selections from Bilotti's wine list.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.