When Craig and Lea Culver created the first Culver’s restaurant in 1984, they wanted to serve homemade burgers like Craig’s mom used to make. These burgers—now known as the ButterBurgers—are made with fresh, Midwest beef patties, and served on a toasty, buttered bun. The burgers are also what helped put Culver’s on the map—there are now more than 500 locations scattered across 19 states. At each restaurant, patties are cooked right on the grill. The other main hallmark of Culver’s menu is its rich, creamy frozen custard, which you can have drizzled with hot fudge or use as a foundation for a signature Concrete Mixer and have it decorated with Oreos and Butterfingers.
Catering to sports fans and dining delegates, Sam’s Bar has been slinging king-sized helpings of both since opening its doors in 2010. Sam’s menu perfects bite-sized treats by offering barroom favs like jalapeño poppers ($7.95), a pound of wings ($8.95) and breaded dill pickle spears ($6.95). It’s tough to celebrate team championships and lunar drag racing victories without sharing pizza and Sam’s plentiful pies are sliced up with tantalizing toppings ranging from Italian sausage to red onion (12” cheese for $12 with $1 additional per topping). Attending to the attention demands of buns, the bar and grill slips an impressive array of treats between needy breads, like the hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwich ($8.95). Those looking to sit down and tuck a napkin into their collar, will revel in Sam’s entrée menu, featuring steaks and chicken, but also the house specialty, Cavatelli ($9.95) and features pasta smothered in homemade sauce, baked to cheesy perfection. Aiming to please parched palettes, Sam’s also offers a full bar and fire hose for quenching dusty drink holes.
Located along scenic Copper Creek Lake, Bella Italia satisfies both eyes and appetites with classic Italian pastas and piping-hot pizzas and calzones. Diners inaugurate meals by proposing the marriage of taste buds to flavor with a crunchy order of mozzarella sticks ($5.99). Pastas such as the fettuccini alfredo with chicken ($12.99) cosset mouths with homemade sauce silkier than the Olympic ribbon-dancing tryouts.
Smashburger's cooks grill each burger ($4.99 for the classic) on the menu to order in addition to crafting grilled and crispy chicken sandwiches ($5.99+), salads ($4.99–$6.99), and sides such as rosemary- and garlic-tossed fries ($1.99+). The Smashburger pairs 100% Angus beef with veggies and cheeses on an artisan bun, and Häagen-Dazs shakes ($3.99–$4.29) keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley. Add-ons such as applewood-smoked bacon ($1.50) or fried egg ($1) add additional zest to spicy baja burgers overflowing with chipotle mayo ($5.99+) or further personalize regional burgers unique to different cities and states.
The Alohana Hawaiian Grill revolves around the plate lunch, a staple of Hawaiian cuisine that consists of an entree, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a scoop of steamed rice. In the restaurant’s entrees, you can see the American and Asian influences that converge in Hawaiian cuisine: spam musubi, for instance, features a slice of grilled spam atop a block of rice and cinched with nori seaweed. In another dish, strips of deep-fried chicken come with bowls of katsu dipping sauce. Diners can also sample a variety of ramen-noodle bowls as well as piquant barbecued pork and beef dishes.
Planet Sub sidesteps the flavorless land mines of days-old bread, opting for filling-packed subs and sandwiched meaty delights. The menu offers signature subs to sate hungering masses, such as the bacon-bolstered mega roast beef ($5.49/$8.99) and the Planet BBQ, a saucy concoction stacked with ham, turkey, and roast beef ($4.49/$7.99). Vegetarian options abound, so meat abstainers can try the spicy cheese sub ($4.79/$8.19) or the Pesto Bello, which is loaded with portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and a tomato-garlic pesto as smooth and suave as an Italian R & B crooner ($5.19/$8.79).
China Moon's culinary artisans transform fresh ingredients into Chinese dinner entrees, lunch meals, and chef’s specialties. Diners share platefuls of steamed dumplings ($4.95) before tying cardboard wings onto forks and flying them into a spicy amalgamation of kung pao shrimp and chicken ($11.95). The family meal for two pairs mongolian-beef and garlic-chicken entrees with egg rolls, crab rangoons, soup, rice and either wine or soda ($23.90). Lunchtime offerings quiet afternoon stomach yodeling with entrees such as sesame pork nestled on a bed of rice ($5.95). Meanwhile, mouths can break from gaping at the moon to sip beer or mixed drinks such as the Little Panda, a blend of peach schnapps, crème de coconut, and fruit juice ($4.25).