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.
Steinert's Grill & Pub features eclectic pub favorites with an emphasis on southern, German, and Irish cuisines. For a Bavarian appetizer via the bluegrass state, try the kraut balls ($5.95), delightfully brazen deep-fried balls of sauerkraut served with thousand-island dressing. The open-faced Horseshoe sandwich (grilled chicken breast covered in homemade fries, bacon, and cheddar-cheese sauce, $7.95) and the slow-cooked, rib-rubbed beef Brontosaurus Ribs dinner ($15.95) will have you sated and pining for leopard-print-clad ancestral days. Or flaunt your sharing skills with a crispy Steinert pizza. Take a look at the oft-updated selection of Daily Specials to impress your dinner companions with your powers of foresight.
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.
When the Perry and Burke families joined forces to open Sweet n Swirly, they shared a vision of promoting a healthier alternative to ice cream. Neither family could have predicted, however, how quickly that vision would catch on.
Today, visitors stream into a trio of cheery, welcoming locations in Kentucky and Indiana, eagerly sidling up to self-serve stations that protrude from walls painted in vibrant pinks and purples. These stations pump out 10 creamy flavors at any given time, including no-sugar-added options and nondairy sorbets.
The ever-changing lineup of flavors runs the gamut from refreshing to decadent. On one side of the spectrum are tart, summery variations such as blueberry, ginger lemonade, and non-dairy sorbet, whereas choices inspired by more traditional desserts include peanut butter and root-beer float. A candy wall proffers toppings such as jellybeans and chocolate sunflower seeds.
Old-World street lamps light a path towards Cricket's Café, a red-brick eatery brimming with Tuscan-inspired decor and the aromas of gourmet café fare. The design for the restaurant started at the owner's table, where she and her husband sketched a layout with indoor and outdoor seating, including three meeting rooms with high-def projectors. Throughout each of these areas, waiters carry plates loaded with breakfast items, sandwiches, and specialty drinks. The café pros can also transport their comestibles to casual office parties or formal debutante balls held in bouncy castles with catering service.