Equal parts sports fanatics and wings enthusiasts, Wildcat Wings owners Gordon and Emerie Duke create a culinary environment that mirrors the vibrancy of a live sporting event. The idea for Wildcat Wings came to them while rooting on Kentucky versus UCONN in the 2011 NCAA basketball Final Four game. Sensing that wings were the missing ingredient to celebrating the game properly, they quickly discovered the area was lacking an eatery to meet that need. The next thing they knew, both Gordon and Emerie were in their own restaurant slinging more than 20 sauces to slather golden-fried wings in everything from a bourbon glaze and mango habanero to honey mustard and peanut butter and jelly. They also pour frosty brews such as Kentucky Ale with which patrons can wash down feasts of wings and chicken tenders. To keep Gordon and Emerie’s inspiration ever-present, the venue’s TVs air all UK games, as well as broadcasting other sports, including baseball, football, and full-contact Connect Four.
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.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family?s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Giammarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat?s kitchen operations?although, these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has over 500 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
Casanova Italian Restaurant's owner Leo Capezzuto is one of eleven siblings, so it's no surprise that he has made Casanova a family affair. Leo is the proprietor, and the restaurant features cheeses made by hand by his brother and ingredients sourced from his sister's store, Sapori D'Italia. All of these factors culminate in a menu of authentic Southern-Italian cuisine that showcases more than fifteen different types of pasta, such as the scialiatielli con gamberi?artisan handmade egg pasta tossed with shrimp that chefs saut? with garlic, olive oil, and fresh cherry tomatoes. To prepare the filetto al pepe verde, they simmer a dry-aged Angus filet mignon in butter, and then top the delicacy with green peppercorns and cream brandy sauce. The menu also sources seafood from renowned fish regions, culling cuts of Atlantic salmon, Pacific swordfish, and Pacific cod. Like a DJ's closet, the wine list features more than 35 labels, collecting red, whites, and sparkling wines under the same roof.
The chefs at Jasmine Rice Thai and Vietnamese Cuisine whip up a menu's worth of authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes from fresh ingredients. Stir-fry dishes with a choice of land or sea meat begin gustatory journeys, complemented by curry dishes, signature pad thai, or Vietnamese-style pho, served in a bowl or hollowed-out globe. The culinary staff prepares exclusive dishes on weekends, such as deep-fried ribs, served Thai style.
Casanova's downfall deftly doles out upscale women's clothing brands and elegant accessories with a customer-focused staff of fashion experts. Overflowing racks hold wardrobe staples, from party-ready dresses to comfortable and casual blouses, by designers such as Joseph Ribkoff ($150–$250), with custom orders available for out-of-stock sizes and archaic Betamax cassette belts. LipSense lipstick ($18) shades puckerers with party pink, cranberry, and other vivid hues blessed with the kiss-ready staying power of a thousand Marilyn Monroes.