When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked onsite, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu has remained largely the same for the last 50 years.
Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
Named both for the bakery's 21 flavors and as a nod to the owners' son, who has Down syndrome—a disorder stemming from an extra copy of the 21st chromosome—TwentyOne Cakes crafts confections of every size within its sky-and-toffee-hued café. The lineup of seasonal flavors, such as german chocolate, gingerbread, and maple bacon, takes on colorful frosting and chatty personalities as it transforms into full cakes, three sizes of cupcakes, and bite-size cake balls. The eatery's brigade of tables mingles with a pair of comfy armchairs to give patrons respite during sugar comas, and free WiFi keeps brains busy in between sips of coffee or tea. As part of the company's mission to bring acceptance and awareness of individuals with Down syndrome, 10 percent of each purchase at TwentyOne Cakes goes to benefit Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks.
Sausage rolls, savory meat pies, and lamingtons—chocolate-dipped and coconut-dusted sponge cake—are a few of the treats available at Walkabout Coffee Shop, a café dedicated to authentic Australian snacks and culture. The spot's friendly baristas also brew single-origin coffees, blend smoothies, and concoct specialty lattes and mochas. Aboriginal-influenced decor lends the coffeehouse a funky, relaxed ambiance, and musicians fill the space with their melodies during open-mic nights.
The cooks at Maru Sushi & Grill prepare pan-Asian feasts such as Springfield-style cashew chicken, drawing from the cuisine of Japan, China, Thailand, and beyond. Diners clasp sushi rolls loaded with crab, lobster, and mango, which, according to News-Leader.com, are served on a "cast-iron plate that sits atop flames." The sushi and sashimi at Maru is present with beautiful combinations of texture and design. Patrons wash down meals with a selection of drinks that includes Japanese beers, sake, and soju.
Double E's founders, brothers Kevin and Shannon, wanted to build more than a restaurant—they wanted to create a community hub where families could dine together or pop in for a quick treat. Given this vision, its no surprise to see the wives of the brothers scooping out ice-cream sundaes or sister Carol in the back cooking up famous cherry and chocolate fried pies created by her father, Papa Joe.Their hearty menu includes classic offerings such as meaty burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, and chicken philly cheesesteaks. The cooks also get creative and heap inventive toppings such as crunchy Fritos and bacon onto deep-fried hot dogs. And those who wander in on Friday nights can treat themselves to what is perhaps Double E's most famous offering—heaps of golden-fried, American farm-raised catfish.
But beyond the plethora of tasty meal options, Double E's menu also comes with a challenge: if a guest finishes their 1.5-pound burger—topped with all the fixings—and 1.5 pounds of fries in less than 30 minutes, it's on the house. And for those who still have room after their all-American meal, staffers at the ice-cream bar concoct tempting banana splits and other frozen treats topped with whipped cream, cherries, or shrunken snowman heads.
Martin Hernandez grew up with 14 siblings in the city of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. That's where their community taught them the importance of family and hard work, but no one more so than their mother. She created flavorful, fresh meals for the family, never cutting any corners. As the owner of Primas Mexican Grill, Martin has the chance to recreate not only the homemade meals, but also the festive family atmosphere at his restaurant.
Along with a talented staff, Martin pays homage to his mother with traditional Mexican house specialties: pico de gallo, smothered carnitas, fish tacos, and fajitas, to name a few. But the menu doesn't adhere strictly to south-of-the-border fare. There are also American favorites such as burgers and steak served with fries.