Mazzio's Italian Eatery's staff rolls out a buffet for lunch and dinner populated with tasty Italian cuisine that they also serve à la carte. The restaurant's staff has been perfecting its culinary modus operandi for more than 50 years, long enough to evolve the pizza selection to include three levels of thickness. Chefs bake standard, deep-dish, and thin crusts—available in gluten-free form—and load each with toppings such as caramelized onions and giant pepperoni. The kitchen makes pasta plates to order, some baked in the oven, such as lasagna, and some tossed in sauce, such as the mainstay spaghetti and meatballs. The signature calzone radiates the ambrosial scent of pizza dough stuffed with meat and cheese, and it's meant to be shared, unlike a pogo stick.
With claims to more than 200 first-place trophies and participation in 55 barbecue grand champions, 10 Bones BBQ boasts a menu of comfort-fare favorites crafted by seasoned pit masters. An opener of fried pickles ($7.95) or the sausage-and-cheese plate ($8.95) warms up taste buds before they hit marathon stride over a dish of succulent barbecue. Longing jaws will tear into the tender half slab of grand-champion baby-back ribs, pausing only to take in two sides, such as fried okra or a cup of chili ($17.95). Finger foodies can pair the large pulled-pork sandwich ($6.75) with corn on the cob or french fries, or leave it alone to reflect in a pool of its own palatable juices. A slice of pecan-bourbon or peanut-butter pie helps diners wipe up faces full of sauce before switching seats to start all over again ($3.95).
At Gattitown, a vast buffet quells the hungers caused by romping through up to 10,000 square feet of violence-free arcade games, bumper cars, and mini bowling. Before meals, kids scurry between more than 150 exciting games, including virtual-reality racing and tax-filing simulations. In the bumper-car arena, wee ones determine driving dominance by crashing and cruising around a spacious floor. Players then hone their underhand tosses with mini bowling and skee-ball, shooting for tickets to spend on doodads, gadgets, and teddy-bear ransoms inside the Gatti goods store.
Pioneered by gastro guru Shayne Varone, an alumnus of the prestigious Culinary Institute¬ of America, G.T.'s pleases hungry palates with contemporary American cuisine infused with Cajun and Creole twang. G.T.'s menu complements the surrounding sea breezes and panoramic gulf views with entrees such as the seared red snapper ($22), the chicken and shrimp jambalaya dancing amidst a trinity of veggies ($15), and the 12 oz. rib-eye steak hugging a plate of herb-roasted potatoes and haricot vert ($27). While at least one food item must be purchased with this Groupon, left-over value can be used toward any of G.T.'s wines (most glasses are $5 to $15), specialty cocktails (most are $8 to $10), or local craft beers from the Lazy Magnolia Brewery Company ($4 draft, $4.50 bottle). As you lounge in the restaurant's tranquil spaces, keep a watchful eye out for merman mischief, which often includes using jumbo shrimp to heckle customers that are allergic to oxymorons.
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.
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Comfort food doesn't have a reputation for being healthy, but the cooks at Fresh Market Cafe strive to change that by putting a nutritious twist on southern favorites. The kitchen staffers prepare their vegetables in chicken stock or a ham base, eschewing grease, oil, or butter for healthier alternatives. Baked fresh every morning, their pies, skillet cornbread, and entrees contain no MSG or artificial flavors, instead relying on fresh and natural ingredients. Customers pressed for time can take advantage of the carry-out and drive-thru options, or they can enjoy a leisurely meal in the restaurant.