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.
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.
In the kitchen at Macadoo's Family Restaurant, owners Tim and Kathy page through their family recipe books to craft comfort food for breakfast and lunch. Homemade soups simmer on the stove each day, and warm ladles of beef manhattan cover their platters. And Tim's made-from-scratch sausage gravy layers over the "almost world famous" biscuits and gravy, whose international recognition was thwarted only by its own inability to answer reporters' questions. In addition to serving hearty entrees and sandwiches, the restaurateurs help diners embrace each sunrise with hot coffee and traditional breakfast dishes.
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.
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.