During the evening, 3 Brothers Deli and Brewhouse exudes the warm glow of an after-hours hangout, one where friends congregate and the faint din of chatter spills out into the parking lot every time the front door swings open. But it wasn't always this way. According to BoroPulse.com, just 100 days after brothers Rob and Eric Fortney opened their first Italian deli, it burned to the ground. Rather than throw in the towel, they spent half a year retooling and plotting a grand reopening that surpassed all their earlier ambitions. And this is what they came up with. The rebuilt and expanded 3 Brothers Deli and Brewhouse beckons loyal regulars to sip 1 of more than 60 beers or premium spirits while tackling a massive signature hoagie or pasta dinner. In a back room, a salacious lamp inspired by A Christmas Story illuminates a small collection of arcade games, including a pinball machine and a miniature bowling game designed to be played with tiny balls or unripe plums. In addition to these fun-filled diversions, the pub entertains guests throughout the week with a schedule of live music, open mic nights, and other events.
Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Angus beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market. This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun H?agen-Dazs shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded to 160 restaurants in five years, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
The patty sculptors at Your Burger hand-form locally raised beef, Alaskan salmon, and vegan-friendly veggies into juicy patties crowned with a farmers’ market’s worth of local produce. Available at a buffet, toppings such as crisp onions, cool lettuce, and plump tomatoes hide and enhance certified Angus or grass-fed patties, just as footie pajamas both hide and enhance the existence of a person's flippers. Sides of sweet-potato fries and onion rings round out casual American meals, as staffers blend up creamy hand-dipped shakes and scoops of Edy's ice cream, providing a more pleasantly frosty epilogue than a cryogenically frozen narrator.
Just as Your Burger's patties outpace stereotypical burgers, its decor transcends typical quick-service eateries. An exposed stone divider cordons off the open kitchen, allowing guests to watch their meals being flipped as they recline near the purple-and-orange Edy's counter.
Diners flip their own flapjacks at The Pfunky Griddle, where every oversize table is topped with its own grill. Unlimited ladles of organic five-grain and unbleached white batter sizzle to golden-brown before they're sprinkled with such toppings as coconut flakes, peanut butter, and blueberries. The menu also accommodates special diets with options for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan batter. Chef-made sandwiches—such as a blue-cheese-and-roast-beef wrap—can also be constructed with gluten-free bread upon request.
If The Pfunky Griddle's menu emphasizes homey comforts, the decor channels the great outdoors. Painted trees and blades of grass adorn the walls, and tangled branches traverse the ceiling, bringing to mind a rugged forest campsite or that time you watered all your houseplants with Muscle Milk. A skylight lets in ample sunshine on a spacious back deck.
Since its first restaurant—literally a small, converted shack—opened in 1980, Uncle Bud's has filled its menu of Southern-style eats with golden-brown morsels of fried catfish, chicken, and shrimp. Succulent strips of chicken are breaded by hand before plunging into the deep fryer, and everything from catfish fillets and frog legs to wild-gator tails pile onto dishes such as the Bayou platter. The scent of fried po’ boys fills the dining area, which is decorated with license plates and vintage camping supplies, where patrons can happily slake their hunger or pack up carryout containers with family-size helpings large enough to feed an entire terracotta army.
Barbecue is about balance, about finding the right suspension of smoky and sweet flavors even if it requires hours of labor and patience. At Slick Pig BBQ, chefs achieve flavor harmony by slow cooking and saucing up meats—which range from classic ribs to honey-barbecue wings—and then plate them with requisite sides such as corn bread, turnip greens, and mac ‘n’ cheese. They also tantalize visitors with an array of Southern staples, frying up catfish, baking chess pie, and sweetening tea by telling it how special it is.