A basket of warm housemade bread greets eaters at Tutto Pasta Trattoria, where a homey vibe welcomes diners at dinner and lunch. The menu is a geometry book of pasta shapes, which guests can peruse to prepare for quizzes on spaghetti, angel hair, rigatoni, penne, spaghetti, and housemade tortellini. The noodles share kitchen space with chicken, veal, and seafood dishes, as well as thin-crust pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven rather than a space-rocket launch pad.
At night, shadows blanket the eatery's warmly toned walls, arched-booth alcoves, countryside murals, and outdoor seating area. Amid this dim lighting, bartenders mix martinis and serve wine from their expansive selection, which is displayed on overhead wine racks.
Papa John's has carefully crafted a menu of specialty pizzas to satisfy any taste or mouth shape. Order a hawaiian barbecue chicken ($16), or go all-out and get The Works ($16), a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, gourmet baby portabella mushrooms, and ripe black olives. Satisfy herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a tuscan six cheese or garden fresh pie. The full list of specialty pizzas includes several more; take the hassle out of haggling over individual ingredients and boldly cast your straight-ticket ballot for the pizza party that your conscious dictates.
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.
Bean Sprouts Café's wholesome, vegetarian-friendly menu supplies palates with a nutritious array of fresh smoothies, snacks, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, and entrees in portions to please kids ($5.25 for a main dish), adults ($7.95), and big daddies ($9.50). Gather enough forearm strength to punish burly bullies with the spinach, gruyere, and hummus wrap, or satisfy a Lilliputian appetite with the turkey or veggie-tofu Bunchkin Burger. All main dishes come with a choice of healthy side, such as edamame or freshly harpooned banana octopus. Organic baby bites with clever names such as Pea Diddy and Sam I Yam ($2.50 each) and family meal packs cement Bean Sprouts' familial air like a Scythian blood oath.
Ruth's Chris Steak House's rampant success across the nation was built one juicy steak at a time since founder Ruth Fertel made the fortunate purchase of a New Orleans steakhouse. The menu of hearty gourmet steaks and entrees is the main reason the steakhouse is thriving more than 45 years later. Diners feast on perfectly cooked new york strip steaks, petite fillet with large gulf shrimp, and porterhouse steaks big enough for two. Before the main event, New Orleans–inspired appetizers pave the way with options such as veal osso buco ravioli or sizzling blue-crab cakes.
Even though the restaurants have expanded inland, the menu has always included options from the sea, including seafood entrees such as almond-crusted walleye or barbecued shrimp. Each restaurant maintains the steakhouse's hallmark of upscale dining, and waiters are ready and willing to recommend a pairing from the award-winning wine list.
Silver Mine Subs swiftly serves cold and hot sandwiches, using a no grilling or frying approach that puts the spotlight on the fresh, crisp ingredients. Browse the menu in search of the Steam Engine, a warm hoagie stuffed with meatballs, marinara sauce, and provolone ($4.09 for a 5-inch), or the turkey-and-avocado-packed Caribou ($5.69 for an 8-inch). Those who like a culinary challenge can take on the Mother Lode, with layers of roast beef, turkey, ham, and salami ($9.69 for an 11-inch). Complement subs with a piping-hot cup of broccoli-cheese soup ($2.99) or a garden salad sprinkled with fat-free ranch dressing ($3.99).