It's hard to imagine a restaurant that epitomizes the great American diner better than Huddle House. Since 1964, the restaurant?which has locations scattered prominently throughout the southern states?has warmed bellies with burgers, hearty breakfasts, and heaping helpings of friendly hospitality, available 24-hours a day. Even the moniker is All-American: founder John Sparks came up with the name after a football huddle, hoping it would inspire his customers to gather round a table and swap stories over a warm meal.
Over the years, Huddle House's menu has expanded and adapted to changing tastes, but its focus has remained the same: old-fashioned, American comfort food. No matter what time it is, guests can order up biscuits smothered in gravy and cheese or dig into the shop's signature waffles, whipped up using a secret recipe and waffle irons that can't read. Afternoon eats include chopped steak burgers served with regular or sweet potato fries and sandwiches with a southern twist, like a Philly cheese steak stuffed between slices of thick-cut Texas toast.
A homegrown success story with a slew of awards and nearly 40 years of history, Popeyes has introduced its menu of Louisiana eats to taste seekers around the globe. Rather than downloading low-quality, unsatisfying meals through the Internet, packs can pick up Popeyes’ family-style meals, pairing eight pieces of Cajun fried chicken with four buttermilk biscuits and a side of award-winning rice and beans ($16.99). A po boy stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($3.49) makes a splash in lunchboxes, and chicken nuggets ($2.49 for six pieces) surf into mouths on waves of refreshing sweet tea ($2.99/gal.).
Nooley's, an high-ceilinged eatery on Highway 44, welcomes patrons with cold beer, comfort food staples, and football games on the flat-screen TV. Po' boys with au jus gravy, shrimp tossed in wing sauce, and fresh-cut curly fries loaded with cheddar cheese, bacon, and other toppings are just a few of the treats on the menu.
The sandwich specialists at Brew-Bacher's assemble a broad menu of home-style meat-cheese-bread blends in family-friendly environs. The basic hamburger sports a modest ensemble of mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato on a fluffy bun pedestal ($5.75). A south-of-the-border-seasoned beef patty underpins sautéed onions, jalapeños, and shredded cheese in the Mexican burger, which also features guacamole adornments and flour-tortilla wrapping paper ($7.25). In the cold-cut TKO sandwich, smoked turkey dons alfalfa-sprout suspenders, a guacamole corsage, and a swiss-cheese cummerbund upon a bed of wheat bread ($5.99). Sea-cuisine cravers can nosh on a po' boy with catfish ($7.99), shrimp ($7.99), or oyster ($9.50)—each battered and fried oceanic offering trolling a sea of mayo, lettuce, and tomato—and carbohydrate conservationists could save the life of an imperiled bun with a salad selection ($4.25–$9.95).
Cuisine Type: IHOP Restaurant
Most popular offering: Pancake
Delivery / Take-out Available: Takeout Only
Number of Tables: 25?50
Outdoor Seating: No
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
If the wooden tables that stretch across Country Kitchen’s dining room were any less sturdy, they would buckle under the weight of the sizzling platters of Southern fare that chefs trot out for unlimited buffets. Old-time recipes of fried and baked chicken vie for attention alongside a menu of specialties that rotate daily; the weekend’s seafood gumbo and fried catfish give way to succulent barbecued sausages that can spice up any Monday. Southern cuisine is known for its show-stealing sides and desserts, and Country Kitchen delivers in spades on both counts. Fried hush puppies and vegetable dishes refuse to take a backseat to their main-course counterparts, and a dessert bar exudes nostalgia with heaping servings of bread pudding, peach cobbler, and ice cream. Between bites, guests seated under cheerful framed artworks or beside a colorful rooster statue can reminisce about childhoods spent wrestling catfish or plucking ripe morsels of corn bread fresh from the vine.