Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
Patticakes' creative breakfast menu features sweet and savory flavors and boasts a bounty of breakfast paninis. The egg, ham, onion, and pepper-stuffed Western scramble panini ($4.89) and the sweeter apple-pie panini ($4.25) satisfy bready breakfast cravings, while fast-breaking specials such as the vanilla-infused cinnamon-bread sunnyside french toast ($4.29) or the Hoosier-style biscuits and gravy ($5.99) with a side order of Patticakes' fresh-baked cinnamon rolls ($1.99) make traditional-meal lovers smile. Lunch paninis such as This Lil Piggy ($5.25), with ham, shredded cabbage, sliced apple, swiss cheese, and apple-butter mustard, or the bonjour ($6.25), with roast beef, provolone, caramelized onions, and roasted-garlic aioli, are served on your choice of one of four kinds of bread. Lunch paninis are great solo or as part of a culinary duet with half of a Patticakes salad ($6.95), such as the corn and avocado salad ($5.79 whole), rich with spinach, turkey, bacon, and veggies and drizzled with a honey-gorgonzola vinaigrette, or the nutty apple salad, with bacon, goat cheese, and sweet toasted pecans ($5.49 whole).
At CiCi’s Pizza, feasters can sample hearty slices of pizza and a wide selection of buffet fare ($4.99 per person 11 and older, $2.99 for kids 10 and under. Drinks are extra.) Offering endless helpings of fresh salads, tantalizing pastas, tasty desserts, and oven-fresh pizzas, CiCi’s tames the most voracious hunger attacks via all-you-can-eat tactics. Pizza dough is made fresh daily and doused in a savory sauce crafted from vine-ripened tomatoes and prescience-instilling spices, while salads are hand-tossed with the freshest ingredients delivered hourly via teleportation.
Connected by an asphalt web of highways, state roads, and thoroughfares, blocky yellow signs gleam nonstop, casting a dandelion glow from the words “Waffle House.” The booths at the eateries fill 24 hours each day with the aromas of sizzling pork chops, Jimmy Dean sausage, and endless mugs of coffee. Line cooks brown shredded potatoes on a grill as waiters shout back in a language all their own for hash browns “smothered,” “covered,” or “topped”—served with onions, cheese, or chili, respectively. Angus burgers and steak melts share space on the rippling-hot surface at all times of day, allowing tired drivers to stop for food when they are on a long journey or just listening to an 11-hour drum solo on the radio. The first Waffle House switched on its lights in 1955, and some menu items still bear the names of Waffle House staff of the past, including Bert's chili from Dallas and Alice's iced tea.
The vintage-looking red-and-white walk-up window at Mom & Pop?s Cone Corner belies the contemporary twists the staff puts on their treats, topping ice cream with everything from seasonal fruits to chocolate-covered ants. They concoct more than 70 uniquely named desserts, including the There?s A Frog In My Throat?vanilla ice cream topped with marshmallows, crème de menthe, and chocolate chips?and the Rudy Kazooty?vanilla ice cream paired with cherry, fresh peaches, banana, and vanilla wafers. To pair with these cool concoctions, staffers grill up classic American eats such as burgers, chilidogs, and fried sticks on sticks.
Great Harvest Bread Co.'s expert bakers specialize in mixing together tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads crafted from scratch daily with freshly milled whole-wheat flour. Like a child's favorite stock picks, Great Harvest Bread Co.'s bread selection changes each day of the week and can include luscious loaves of honey whole wheat and Dakota bread—a baked bundle of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and millet. The shelves also regularly stock gluten-free and high-fiber varieties. Deli sandwiches ($5.75–$6.75 for a whole, $3.00–$3.50 for a half) range from smoked turkey and pepper jack stacks to the Tuscan chicken, which piles a grilled chicken breast with aged provolone, red onions, and sun-dried tomato pesto. For carb connoisseurs who prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest Bread Co. bakes scones, muffins, and cookies.