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.
Anthony Hensley and his wife, Rosie, have gone to great lengths to offer something for everybody at B&J's Family Restaurant and Lounge. As a result of working in bars and restaurants for more than 30 years, Hensley believes he knows what people like to eat when they dine out, which is why he offers such an eclectic menu of American comfort food. There’s pasta for those who like a little Italian, homemade strudel, battered cod, even puerto rican tacos made with picadillo––a latin american hash traditionally made from ground beef and tomatoes.
But no matter what people order, Anthony and Rosie have ensured that the food is as fresh as possible. "We cut our own lettuce for salads," he explained. "Mostly use Omaha beef. Order local bakeries. We try and shop local for everything."
Anthony describes B&J's dining room as having a "kind of a small town, hometown feel," complete with diner-style booths, pinball machines, video games, and antique parking meters that only accept gold doubloons. It’s the type of place where regulars frequently gather, shooting the breeze at the full-service bar or whacking balls around the pool table. "Some of the regulars," he said, snickering, "my son, Tony, beats them at pool. I taught him how to play when he was 7. The thing is, he's only 12 years old."
A+ Buffet & Mongolian Grill doles out endless helpings of authentic Mandarin, Cantonese, Szechuan, and Hunan cuisine at its all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets. In addition to buffet fare and takeout charged by the pound, the dine-in menu flaunts traditional dishes ranging from moo go gai pan and kung pao shrimp to the veggie-friendly Buddhist Delight, which guests can order verbally or by rubbing their server's belly.
T.G.I. Friday's transforms the six worst days of the week into the only day of the week that is acceptable to most Americans. Friday's is equipped to fill your life with Jack Daniel's sauce and endless salad and breadsticks. The multipronged menu contains prongs for burgers, sandwiches, salads and soups, seafood, pastas, chicken, and more so that any craving-flame can be put out.
Wooden beams and stone walls set a traditional scene inside Catfish Lake, and that ambiance meshes well with a menu of fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks, and other classic American cuisine. In addition to crisp fillets of fried walleye and catfish, diners can savor hand-breaded fried chicken, alaskan king crab legs, and slow-roasted prime rib au jus that's carved onto sandwiches.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
Perched above the restaurant’s entrance, the Cat Daddy’s catfish mascot welcomes diners into his digs, sporting a sharp fedora and a devious grin. He's a symbol of what patrons are in for: catfish with a kick. At Cat Daddy's, the cooks fry up spicy Cajun catfish in addition to a slew of southern-style eats. The surf side of Cat Daddy’s menu rolls out heaping platters of shrimp, white fish, and tilapia, complementing inland specials including fried chicken and full pounds of rib tips. Down-home to its core, Cat Daddy’s surrounds meals with collections of knickknacks and keepsakes lining its wood-paneled walls, and outside, a spacious patio hosts heated bites during summer months.