Kansas City Smokehouse’s hickory-wood smokers slow-cook succulent meats in the tradition of Missouri barbecue masters. Barbecued meets, including beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked kielbasa pile on plates by the quarter pound. Tender st. louis ribs or one half of a barbecued chicken share platter space with cornbread and classic sides, such as Cajun rice, collard greens, baked beans, and sweet-potato fries. Chefs dust catfish and skewered shrimp in their signature kansas city dry rub, searing in the spices on a cast-iron griddle heated with their laser vision. Nineteen craft and domestic beers accent the smoky hues, or pair up with a bevy of burgers or steaks.
Louie Demirakos devised Clearwater Charlie's in his late father's name, creating an homage to his unfulfilled vision for—in Charlie’s words—an “eat it and beat it” establishment. The menu is scrawled on chalkboards above the kitchen assembly line, and dishes hit the counter on paper plates, which conveniently fold into paper sailboats to float leftovers home. Though the restaurant gives top billing to seafood, Charlie’s specialty, it also incorporates a slew of American dishes such as barbecue chicken and pork, steak, and burgers with a choice of 22 toppings. The restaurant is also entirely nut-free, ensuring that food-sensitive diners can safely savor any dish that emerges from the bustling kitchen.
Owned by baseball legend and semiprofessional magician Darryl Strawberry, Strawberry's Sports Grill pleases crowds and palates with a menu of updated American favorites and thoughtful comfort food. Slide head- and feet-first into a plate of crawfish-and-cheddar hushpuppies ($8.95) or get started with some championship chili ($7.95), loaded with enough ground beef, brisket, red beans, peppers, and onions to dominate chili challenges and handball round-robins. A bevy of burgers features beef, lamb, turkey, and falafel options, including the Hellenic 1986 burger ($12.95), with a lamb patty, feta cheese, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce, and Strawberry's "Double Beef" burger ($14.95), whose beef patty is stuffed with chopped brisket and topped with fried onions and barbecue sauce. Barbecued ribs ($18.95) and chicken ($16.95) are smoked in-house, while surf and turf ($29.95) pits land (16-ounce rib eye) against sea (fried shrimp) in the greatest elemental cage match since wind defeated fire in 1937.
Southern, Cajun, and Mexican influences all show up on the menu at Eldorado Southern Grille, an eatery with décor inspired by roadhouses and barbecue joints across America. Bacon-and-cheddar-stuffed burgers, beef brisket with fried onion straws, and chicken wings tossed with cilantro-Grand Marnier sauce are just a few options. Flat-screened TVs broadcast sports games while bartenders pour draft beers and mix signature cocktails such as the Mexican Iced Tea—a Long Island iced tea topped with Cafe Patron.
Whether beneath the thatched roof of the tiki hut or at an intimate table surrounded by bamboo shoots, Papaya Thai and Asian BBQ’s tropical themes pervade the eatery’s confines. The barbecue bar grants diners a front-row seat to watch chefs expertly grill marinated meats and veggies on wooden skewers, wielding the power of fire like Prometheus to cook beef to its tender best state. A variety of Thai tasting plates and main dishes include classics such as pad thai, sizzling chicken in a thai barbecue sauce, and skewered chicken satay. From the tiki bar, bartenders pour tropical drinks such as papaya thai-ritas made with sweet mango and nutty monkeys, an almond-rum-banana concoction the staff delivers to tables by way of swinging through the rafters.
The meaty aromas of kalua pork and mahi-mahi waft across the patio at SmokeHouse Chili Grill as diners bid farewell to summer with sauce-stained handkerchiefs. Though renowned for their much-hyped chili, the grill’s chefs pack their charcoal bags for an island paradise of meats simmering in Hawaiian spices. Ukuleles join in with lip-smacking xylophones of baby back ribs to make sweet music on the palate while taste buds hold luaus in anticipation of the authentic pig roast. Waves of teriyaki shrimp and mahi-mahi crash on grills, beckoning guests to dive into second or third helpings throughout the afternoon.