Although Las Cazuelas Grill is housed in the same building as a BP gas station, the cuisine was never meant to be road food. Maria Cristina Aldana began by learning her husband's recipes for iconic Mexican dishes and she named her restaurant after the traditional terracotta dishes used in Hispanic kitchens. These home-style touches demonstrate Maria's commitment to creating familiar, satisfying meals. She makes grilled steak, marinated pork, and chicken mainstays throughout the menu, and she uses them in everything from tacos and burritos to tortas and quesadillas. Three salsas can add a fresh dose of spice to any meal, and diners can customize their tacos by ordering them with corn, flour, or a taxpayer identification number spelled out in tomatoes.
Inside Game Time Bar and Grill, bartenders kick open the kegs and let loose a torrent of beer to wash down 12 gourmet burgers and just as many HD TVs. The menu brims with hearty pub fare, such as the Italian, a sub stuffed with a trio of meats, provolone, veggies, and Italian dressing, or The Firecracker, an angus patty topped with fried jalapeño rings, chipotle mayo, and live ammunition. For dinner, servers haul out rib eye steaks and chicken parmesan, preceded by smaller plates of chili-cheese fries and beer-battered shrimp to stoke hunger flames. Throughout the restaurant, a jukebox cranks out tunes that cease only for a live DJ on weekends and karaoke renditions of the drink menu on Thursday night. While the music plays, pool balls clack on several pool tables, and 12 HD TVs display a steady stream of sports.
Dream Dinners makes meal preparation a breeze with easy-to-follow instructions, precut meats and veggies, and a host of complementary ingredients. The experience is like a cross between a barn raising and a bar crawl, minus the alcohol and hard labor: After choosing from a rotating menu of up to 14 dishes per month, customers schedule a spot at a fun prep session (call at least a week in advance) to assemble meals in-store. Items from the April menu include blackened salmon with pineapple salsa ($15.89 for three servings) and crispy sesame chicken with gingered green beans ($14.04 for three servings). Groupon holders can dazzle dining-room tables with fancy, restaurant-inspired fare or serve up flavor-filled comfort foods such as white-chicken lasagna ($14.04 for three servings) and caliente pork chops with garlic mashed potatoes ($16.42 for three servings).
“I cannot describe how great your food is,” wrote one regular of Shish Tawook Mediterranean Grill on the eatery's Facebook wall in November 2012. “Best pita bread I've ever had,” raved another. Dishes such as lamb shawarma, shrimp stir-fry with garlic-almond rice, and lentils with cracked wheat, sautéed onions, and creamy yogurt keep diners coming back for more. Patrons can also sip beer, wine, or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, or puff flavorful tobacco from a hookah.
Since 1996, City Coffeehouse has drawn in guests with the scents of freshly brewed arabica coffee, simmering specialty drinks, and ambrosial baked gourmet desserts. Organic and fair-trade beans percolate into cups of specialty Almond Joy lattes and seasonal Mudslide cappuccinos with irish cream after thorough grounding, and 13 types of hot chocolate warm esophagi. The café strives to emulate the communal atmosphere of the traditional coffeehouse, hosting local chess and book-club meetings—as well as confused Edinburgh intellectuals imported straight from the 18th century—amid the vibrant red walls and framed artwork that surround clusters of tables and cushy couches. A 5:30 a.m. opening time accommodates early risers, and free WiFi encourages Internet exploration. Special events and regular open-mic nights give visitors the chance to perform yodel covers of Prince hits before a respectful audience.