When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company—now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob—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 expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of viscous-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Mixx Lounge tops off cocktails and broadcasts dance beats to entertain and invigorate Detroit-area patrons. A dark wood bar props up drink glasses and customers’ elbows as they peruse the menu for new potable possibilities, whether interests guide them toward a martini, a savory small plate ($6–$10), or a career in botany. La Terre ($6.50) mixes Californian merlot and cabernet into a ruby-colored refreshment, and the warm spinach-artichoke dip’s ($8) creamy texture complements a crunchy pita-chip vehicle. Pluck tender shrimp from a cocktail glass filled with dipping sauce ($9) while wielding the 007, a classic vodka martini, shaken vigorously and garnished with a deployable grappling hook.
Fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and fragrant spices make up the majority of the Mediterranean diet as well as the pantry at Alexandria Mediterranean Cuisine. Chefs use the key ingredients to flavor their lengthy list of dishes, from fattoush salad—packed with tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and toasted pita—to charbroiled lamb shawarma splayed over rice or hidden inside a pita like a confused Greek soldier. Patrons can wash down crispy falafel or bowlfuls of hummus with fresh-squeezed apple, orange, or carrot juice.
Andiamo Novi combines the eloquence of upscale Italian cuisine with the spontaneity of live entertainment. Dinner in the Andiamo Novi restaurant starts around 8:30 p.m., and pasta-covetous guests can choose any entree from the dinner-show menu. Order the farfalle con bocconcini di pollo to find chicken tenderloin scintillatingly cloaked within bowtie pasta with wild mushrooms, or set course for seafood with the pesce bianco alla Sicilianna, a thinly breaded whitefish sautéed in olive oil. After they've filled up on Italian cuisine, diners can head to the upstairs theater for an evening of golden wits and guffaws, courtesy of the restaurant's Late Night Comedy Series. Each show lasts about 80 minutes and features a changing lineup of comics provided by Heffron Talent International. Even humor skeptics who proclaimed comedy dead when president/ventriloquist William McKinley was assassinated by his anarchist dummy should find ample opportunity to chuckle.
For more than 30 years, Quiznos has toasted its submarine sandwiches to bring out the hidden flavors found in butcher-quality meats, cheese, and artisan breads. Its classic and signature subs take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles ranging from the prime rib mushroom and swiss to the classic italian donning black olives, mozzarella, red-wine vinaigrette, and plentiful sliced meats. Those closely monitoring their waistlines can take unabashed bites of sandwiches that have fewer than 500 calories, such as the pork-cuban, Baja-chicken, and veggie-caprese subs. Quiznos' Sub Sliders offer slimmer versions of sub fare and flaunt supreme aerodynamics when shot out of T-shirt cannons and into mouths. A selection of Flatbreads, soups, and salads round out Quiznos' varied menu.