Natives of Hawaii and California, Howard and Anita Hsu brought more than a love of surfing with them when they moved across the country. They also transported the west coast's blend of beach culture, healthy eating, and seafood-infused Mexican fare. At the locally owned and operated Gezzo's Surf & Grille, the brother-sister team oversees a staff committed to fresh in-house ingredients free of preservatives that crafts everything from salsa to tacos filled with seasoned tilapia, tofu, grilled steak, and chicken. The restaurant also recently launched a mobile food truck to serve its fare throughout Atlanta—another parallel to Hawaiian restaurants that send surfers out to deliver fish tacos to sharks off-shore.
Bianca's Designs' dessert-decorating instructor Barbara Reed schools students in the wizardly Wilton method of decoration and design. In a single two-hour class, partner pairs from every walk of life, from mothers and sons to best friends to doppelgängers en détente, learn about the intricate art of icing-bag filling and its use in glamorizing cakes and cupcakes before dabbling in fresh fondant. Student pairs are supplied with all the tools and enough icing and fondant to sneak tastes of while constructing their confectionary creations. This introductory class serves as a good first step on the pastry pilgrimage before taking more advanced classes or absorbing the knowledge of a master pastry chef via osmosis.
Itza Sports Bar and Grill's menu of American cuisine brims with numerous seafood dishes, sandwiches, steaks, and beers. Quell appetites' abandonment issues with Itza Chips, homemade potato chips sprinkled with blue-cheese crumbles ($5.50). A wide variety of fish, including salmon, mahi mahi, grouper, and catfish, make appearances on formerly empty plates, and blackened or fried tilapia burrows under flour tortillas, pico de gallo, and sour cream before metamorphosing into fish tacos ($8.99). Pack stomachs tighter than carry-on luggage with slow-roasted baby back ribs ($19.99 for a full rack, $10.99 for a half rack) or Cajun pasta, a spicy fusion of seasoned chicken breast, shrimp, sautéed red and green peppers, alfredo sauce, and Cajun rice ($13.99). While savoring one of the many beers on tap, gaze into the eyes of one of Itza's 25 high-definition TVs, gander at nature on the outdoor patio, or bask in the spectacle of various nightly events and entertainment.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
The chefs at Toribio's Mexican Grill & Bar specialize in traditional Mexican entrees. But the restaurant isn't just a place for dinner; it's also a nightlife hotspot. Guests can sip on 14 flavors of margaritas before trying their voice at weekly karaoke. The staff adds to the merriment by hosting giant costume parties for major holidays. But they also keep normal weekends fun by serving up buckets of beer, shots of tequila, and snapping shut every guest's biochemistry textbook upon arrival.