When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Burger Time Boise is a hot spot for live music, weekly Hot Rod Hangouts, and classic American eats. Diners can step into the eatery or roll through the drive-thru for juicy burgers and what Trixie Roth, wife of hot-rod designer and artist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, described as "the best fries, shakes, and food in Boise." Cooks also grill sandwiches, fry haddock, and blend creamy milk shakes in 19 flavors.
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Before opening Taco Del Mar's startup location in Seattle in 1992, its founders spent years surfing California's coastline and devouring fish tacos and stuffed burritos. During this time, they developed a bottomless appetite for the local specialty—a taco with fried fish, shredded cabbage, lime juice, salsa, and a mystery white sauce—and decided to make it their signature menu item. Since then, the chain has opened locations in more than 20 U.S. states and four Canadian shires.
At the restaurant's Eagle and Boise locations, the menu gives locals a taste of California-surfer cuisine and "mission-style" eats inspired by the Latino restaurants of San Francisco's bay area. Fresh guacamole dresses tortilla chips, and proteins such as pork mole or fried Alaskan cod fill tacos. Cooks roll meats such as braised chicken or shrimp into cylinders or edible origami. The foodsmiths also whip up vegetarian and vegan options.
Don't be confused by the name—Gator Grill 2 actually specializes in hot dogs and sausages of all stripes. The food cart's resident grill master since 2006, Dave Hanson, sears everything from Italian or Louisiana sausages to veggie dogs, brats, and Nathan's all-beef franks. On the latter two, he adds heaping portions of toppings such as shredded potatoes, bacon, and cream cheese. Besides dogs, Dave crafts his signature Chicken Bacon Cheddar, whose namesake ingredients are coated with spicy barbecue-ranch sauce and wrapped in a tortilla. Stationed on 6th Street between Main and Grove, Dave serves his late-night treats from 10 p.m. until as late as 4 a.m. every Wednesday–Saturday.
Voted Best Local Mediterranean Food from 2008 to 2011 by Boise Weekly readers, Mazzah Mediterranean Grill's chefs assemble zesty ingredients into classic gyros and made-to-order kebabs. A parceled plate of dolma ($3.49 for three; $6.49 for six) delivers grape-leaf scrolls steeped in lemon juice, which unfurl to dispense rice, veggies, and the detailed blueprints of sunken civilizations. Grilled lamb and beef lathered in homemade tzatziki sauce set up camp inside the gyros' pita tent ($4.99), and grilled morsels of vegetables and chicken festoon miniature lances on the chicken kebab's field of basmati rice ($9.49). Guests can sanction a sweet parting with classic, chocolate almond, or mini squares of honeyed baklava ($0.99–$2.29), including varieties prepared with vegan butter.
WilliB's Sandwich Saloon summons up sepia-toned memories of Old West chuck wagons with its rustic décor and a menu of homemade comfort food. Saddle up for sandwiches such as a chicken-salad wrap ($4.95), a turkey club ($5.95), or an Italian-club hoagie ($5.75), each served with a homemade side such as potato salad or the cowboy campfire favorite of bunkhouse beans. WilliB's, much like your brother and his collection of ascots designated for certain days of the week, also has specialty items such as lasagna and meatloaf in rotation on the menu, with ever-present desserts such as creamy cheesecakes and frosting-smacked carrot-cake slices to satisfy sweet-tooths.