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.
Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant is all about options—from the seats that patrons choose to sit in to the expansive menu with sushi, udon, chicken teriyaki, and numerous vegetarian and vegan dishes. Guests can relax at tables near the front of the restaurant or bypass the four-legged seats for a more traditional Japanese eating experience atop crimson cushions—with backs for comfort—that sit flush against a raised dining platform. Diners can also saddle up to the sushi bar, where culinary gurus fill specialty rolls with ingredients such as tempura-fried cream cheese, fatty tuna, and fried salmon.
The 100% vegan menu at Path stands as a tribute to the scrumptiousness of sustainable, locally sourced fare. Housed beyond a bright red door of a cottage, the ordering counter acts as a gateway to three-course meals, sandwiches, and vegan desserts. Local art and thank-you notes from carefree cows hang on the walls, and musicians perform for diners on weekend nights. Path's dedication to minimizing its carbon footprint also extends to its bike-delivery service, which is free for customers in downtown Norfolk and Ghent during lunch.
At Lemongrass Grille, one meal is never the same as another. Cooks help diners customize their Southeast Asian–influenced lunch or dinner by providing various salad, rice-bowl, noodle, and Asian wraps that can be mixed and matched. Glazed tofu might rest on a bed of tropical greens, tangled with garlic bok choy and soaked in coconut-ginger sauce. Or the tropical greens might stay and instead sesame-soy beef, blistered green beans and pineapple-garlic chutney come to roost. Each individualized meal includes a garnish of items such as peanuts, candied ginger, or chili and red-onion jam.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat flour, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted peppers, red onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sweet corn, $20.95) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yams, mango chutney, raisins, and cilantro, $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a soy-cheese veggie pizza (with pesto, soy cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, and bell peppers, $9.95), while traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onions, and pine nuts, $8.95). Prices vary from location to location, so there might be some small variation from what is listed above.
The culinary artists at Café Gutenberg paint a tasty menu of New American cuisine, complimented by imported and domestic wines and beers. Overcome a flavor drought with an appetizer of hand-cut Vermont cheddar frites served with succulent Vermont cheddar gravy ($5.75). Or warm up the palate with braised pork or tofu sliders ($6.75), which are easier to hit than beef curveballs. While deliberating whether to order the grilled bratwurst ($12) or the flat iron steak ($14), sip a tasty Belgian beer, such as the Duvel Strong Golden Ale ($9), or a refreshing domestic brew, such as the Roxy Rolles Amber Ale ($4) from the Green Mountain State. Early-state-of-mind diners can eggstatically feast on quiche ($7.95), a highlight of the all-day brunch menu.