Sean Thongsiri learned to cook alongside his mother and grandmother in Vientiane, Laos, but it was a lot of trial and error. Getting the best food for his dishes was easy, though. He frequented the town's market, where he culled relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the best possible product. This is a practice he still clings to as head chef of Ele Fine Fusion restaurant, where his modern fusion style is alive in the food, as well as the decor. There, in the glow of handsome blond sconces and colorful landscape prints, guests sit on banquettes and enjoy sushi rolls, crispy duck, and steaming curry dishes, many fashioned with fresh organic vegetables.
The chefs at El Potrillo prepare authentic Mexican dishes using quality ingredients such as USDA-certified Angus beef, crisp vegetables, and housemade sauces. House specialties brimming with sweet scallops and pork carnitas arrive on sizzling molcajetes—traditional Mexican cooking tools made of volcanic rock. Healthy dishes include spinach enchiladas topped with green tomatillo sauce and chicken fajitas, all part of the massive nine-page menu that also features classic margaritas, wine, and imported and domestic beers.
With its bright yellow walls festooned with photographs of old movie stars and its griddles crammed with a bevy of eats, Jo's Diner sates hungry stomachs and nostalgia needs in equal measure. Hits from the '50s and '60s stream from a retro jukebox as diners housed in red padded booths slurp malts and shakes ($3.50) or catapult juicy bacon cheeseburgers ($7.50) through onion rings ($3.50) held by their companions during riveting games of fried-food soccer.
Equipped with three patio tables for outdoor diners, The Spill Grill serves most of its burgers, shakes, sandwiches, and sides to carloads of hungry travelers. Burgers prepared in 10 different variations ($4.97 each) highlight The Spill Grill’s menu, with beefy options including the jalapeño pepper-jack burger or the Cancun pineapple burger. Add natural-cut fries and a drink to any burger for $2.50, or create your own platter from appetizers such as fried green tomatoes ($4.67) and onion rings ($2.97), a salty snack that easily doubles as a personalized promise ring. Combine the 10-piece chicken tenders ($7.97) with a side of Texas cheese fries ($4.97) to ensure a full stomach. Diners can finish off hunger or celebrate inexplicably being elected Croatian prime minister with hand-spun milk shakes, available in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ($1.97 small, $2.97 large).
Serving fresh and speedy pies across America for more than 50 years, Little Caesars now sates appetites worldwide. Select from 12 toppings to design a sumptuous, made-to-order 14-inch original crust ($5.99 with one topping; $1.30 for each additional topping), or plumb the savory strata of a large cheese deep-dish ($7). Little Caesars' large Hot-N-Ready pizzas ($5) are available to drop-in patrons posthaste, eliminating stress caused by unexpected and hungry houseguests. And, after tasting italian cheese bread ($3.99) and Caesar wings with barbecue or buffalo sauce ($4.99), tone-deaf taste buds find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.