When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.
Though The India Garden’s chefs contend with the blazing fires of a tandoori oven every day, they know that not everyone has their tolerance for heat. That’s why they let customers specify their own level of spiciness when ordering a northern Indian entree or specialty tandoori dish. Whether mild, medium, or hotter than a pepper in a garter belt, exotic Indian spices enhance the flavors of meats such as minced ground lamb, sautéed chicken, and shrimp marinated in yogurt. The India Garden’s sprawling menu includes plenty of options for vegetarians and gives the owners a chance to share a cuisine that is close to their heart. As members of a family that emigrated from India, they maintain their native land’s tradition of warmth and hospitality.
Let's Spoon Frozen Yogurt invites guests to forge their own creamy and crunchy desserts from an array of self-serve options. The staff unveils new flavors daily, taking an online poll on the website to see what flavors customers most want to see next and which celebrity they'd most like to spoon feed it to. Once guests choose a non-fat, no-sugar, or dairy free yogurt, they then visit the toppings bar to load up on plentiful candy and fruit toppings, then plop their creations on a scale to have them priced by the ounce.
The chefs at Khun Daeng Thai Kitchen serve up classic curries, tasty noodle dishes, lemongrass-spiked soups, tropical salads, and shareable appetizers. Adventurous diners can sample inventive selections, such as The Evil Prince of a Wild Jungle or Twist and Shout Seafood, washing them down with thai iced tea, thai iced coffee, or a soft drink.
Even pancake fanatics could get overwhelmed at American Pancake House. Twenty varieties of the expertly flipped discs fill the menu, their numbers bolstered by a lengthy list of crepes, blintzes, waffles, and french toast. Fresh pecans are swirled into the diner's special pancake batter, emerging from the oven slathered in a cinnamon-sugar glaze, whereas chocolate pancakes blur the lines between breakfast, dessert, and feeding frenzy. Not to be outdone, the diner's menu of savory breakfast dishes and lunch plates dazzle in syrup-free glory, from the mediterranean frittata that pairs smoked sausage with onions and feta to the a classic diner reuben stacked on perfectly toasted rye.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.