Since the first Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler began making freshly ground hamburgers in 1971, the grill gurus have mastered the art of real charcoal grilling, churning out more than 30,000 meaty spheres each week. Carnivorous canines croon for the hamburger cloaked in chili and cheese ($5.19), and patty purists gawk over the classic cheeseburger topped with Johnnie's signature sauce, mayo, and pickles ($4.79) . The veggie burger ($4.19) is a garden-graced patty with southwestern flair that often finds refuge in a mound of cheese fries ($2.99–$3.99). Johnnie's slices 500 pounds of onions each morning before hand battering the tear-inducing wheels to create one ring to rule them all, or crispy, golden mountains of onion rings to feed hungry hobbits ($2.59+). After an ideal meal, reanimate tired taste buds with the gooey blackberry cobbler ($2.59) or a slice of homemade pecan pie ($1.99).
NewsOK lauds Cajun King for creating “some of the best fried chicken in town” and blackened pork chops that “disappear so quickly, they’re constantly being refreshed.” Head chef and New Orleans native Ken Mills earns panegyrics by toiling endlessly to whip up authentic Cajun buffets. Throughout the day, affable staffers replenish the smorgasbord’s fresh home-cooked eats, such as crawfish etoufee, seafood gumbo, and the restaurant’s signature fried catfish made from Ken’s own secret recipe. Ken’s dedication to sharing the flavors of his hometown with Oklahomans is evident not only in his toothsome noshes but also in the Cajun music played in the restaurant throughout the day to activate guests’ latent urges to travel everywhere via parade float. Servers bustle about the dining room, delivering baskets of warm beignets to tables as a dulcet prandial epilogue. Cajun King’s purple-and-green walls further bolster the restaurant’s congenial Mardi Gras atmosphere, as do vintage figurines of New Orleans characters. Dangling plants hang next to drooping Mardi Gras beads, just like in the wild.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. The menu was designed by executive chef Chris Peitersen, and each location executes it by blending fresh ingredients with extra time to create high-quality preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the all-natural beef tuscan ribeye, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon-basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired with any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and cocktail menu.
In October 2005, Doug Stritzel tested his 16 years of restaurant experience by opening Pickleman's, a sandwich shop focused on fresh ingredients and hot subs. Judging by the eatery's success—the initial shop spawned 11 additional locations across the Midwest—Stritzel's experiment worked. Each day, the ovens churn out a lineup of hot subs and pizzas topped with steaming ingredients. Toasted sandwiches meld zesty flavors, such as salami, capicola, and giardiniera peppers, in a torpedo-shaped package that spins in an edible spiral when thrown. Chefs also man the ovens to craft thin-crust pizzas bedecked with chicken, blue cheese, and buffalo sauce, but spare the menu's soups and chopped salads from the flames.
Pieces of baseball paraphernalia adorn the walls at Diamond Dawgs, where the menu boasts 15 hot dogs with affectionate, baseball-themed names. The Dawgmaggio piles marinara sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms, fried pepperoni, and mozzarella atop a grilled italian sausage, and the Chicago Cubby pitches a classic Chicago-style dog, complete with tomato, onion, relish, peppers, pickle, and a poppy-seed bun. The menu also offers a slate of chicken wings, doused in 11 different sauces that range from mild to incredibly hot, alongside soft-serve ice cream and freshly baked cookies.
Unlimited portions of more than 20 toppings grace the pizzas of The Crooked Crust, which diners can order as whole, half, or one-fourth pies. Nine specialty pizzas, such as the pesto-and-artichoke-covered Mean Green or the Hawaiian-themed Lu-Wow!, arrive at tables in Denton or Campus Corner locations after baking in ovens fired with outdated geology textbooks. In addition to accommodating guests in its dining quarters, Crooked Crust delivers for an additional $2 fee.