Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with its internationally known original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
Though Annel and Drew come from different backgrounds—she's a Michoacán, Mexico, native who learned about food in the kitchens of her family's restaurants, and he's a culinary-school grad who's training to become a certified health counselor—they share a common purpose: to handcraft original meals that use fresh ingredients obtained from local merchants. Together they do just that out of their eponymous mobile kitchen, a food truck that sets up shop a few days a week at accessible locations such as the Leucadia Farmer’s Market, the Oceanside Sunset Market, and right behind you a second ago.
As the nutrition expert, it's Drew's job to fill the seasonal menu with healthful dishes such as organic salads and sandwiches made with veggies from Suzie’s Farm. But like a thief who up and stole a whole Amazon warehouse, Annel also has plenty to offer. Having worked at acclaimed LA eatery El Floridita, she's got Cuban cuisine mastered; her kitchen makes a cuban sandwich the Coast News’ David Boylan declared is “as good as it gets.” Her degree in fashion may even have something to do with the artful presentation that marks dishes such as the grilled balsamic artichokes, which were named one of the Best Bites of 2011 in San Diego Magazine’s Best of North County.
A few things remain unchanged from the '80s. You still can't put Baby in a corner. It still takes a bolt of lightning to send a DeLorean back in time. Bacon is still the world's most delicious food?as well as cinema's most rebellious dancer. Such is the founding philosophy of The Breakfast Club Diner, a haven for 1980s nostalgia. The restaurant's walls are lined with movie posters, album covers, and other cultural mementos from the era?plus a modern mural where characters from Star Wars hang out at the beach off Coast Highway with the Dukes of Hazzard and other pop icons.
Despite the '80s theme, the menu is that of a quintessential Americana diner, and dishes up all the classics, such as ribbon-cut hash browns served alongside four-egg omelets, scramblers, and country-fried steak and eggs. Those hash browns also form the base of the diner's signature skillets, which layer ingredients such as the Athenian's diced gyro meat, feta cheese, and saut?ed veggies. The diner's signature Crunchy Munchy french toast serves toast slices coated with frosted flakes alongside whipped cream and fresh fruit. Beyond the flapjacks and breakfast burritos, the chefs also grill burgers and assemble french dip sandwiches, rueben sandwiches, salads, and burgers for lunch.
Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese specialties or Korean barbecue, Aria Sushi & BBQ offers flavors from both regions on its expansive menu. Taste soft tofu soup, spicy ramen noodles, bulgogi, bibimbap and other Korean specialties. Alternatively, Aria’s chefs can create specialty rolls for a tempting sushi dinner. Fresh rolls range from the Sumo, in which tuna and spicy crab are draped with white tuna, to the Spider Rainbow, whose soft-shell crab and four-fish blend refract into 56 shades of light.
A sextet of flags waves cheerfully atop a grand, Mission-tiled roof, beckoning diners to step through the doors and into a dining room awash in the aroma of smoked meat. The welcoming atmosphere at Crossroads SmokeHouse BBQ stays with diners throughout the evening thanks to a team of friendly servers and whimsical decor such as a trio of statues of James Dean, Elvis, and The Blues Brothers. In the kitchen, chefs can be found dry-rubbing ribs and chicken quarters before sending them to the smokehouse for hours on end, or whipping up Southern standards such as brisket and fried catfish.
Crossroads further fosters a friendly, energetic environment by hosting live entertainment every evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., bringing in talented acts to bolster barbecue feasts. A karaoke bar also enable patrons to let loose by belting out the words to their favorite power ballad or least favorite parking ticket.
The Draft may have recently shed its former Wings, Pizza N Things alias, but it remains locally owned and operated by the same team of dedicated industry professionals. Now with more than 37 high-definition televisions lining its walls, The Draft makes it easy to catch virtually every second of the evening's biggest game. Whether you grab a stool at the bar or settle at one of the high-top tables, it's hard not to have an unobstructed view of at least one screen?assuming you can tear your attention away from what's on the table. The menu specializes in hearty comfort foods, including burgers and chicken patties topped with fixings such as bacon, chili, jalape?os, or pure oxygen. To accompany this rib-sticking cuisine, the bar pours more than 30 craft beers?half of which hail from local breweries.