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.
Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwiches became an instant classic one fateful day in 1967, when an anonymous Georgia chicken wandered into a hot, buttered bun and made history. Forty-some-odd years later, or 267 million chicken years, Chick-fil-A sandwiches are still made the same way, with boneless cuts of breast meat hand-breaded by mystic chicken ascetics, dill-pickle chips pickled from the freshest of cucumbers, and an optional golden wheat bun that is both golden and made of wheat ($3.35 including tax). Like gambling on horse racing, the original chicken sandwich is so dangerously delicious that you'll devour two without thinking twice, but unlike gambling, Chick-fil-A's sandwiches never contain dice, poker chips, or knee-breaking goons in track suits.
Since 1971, Trupiano’s Italian Restaurant has served diners a slice of Italy made of delectable pasta and superb pizza; the pizza won second place at the 2007 West Coast Pizza Championships. The dinner and lunch menus are stuffed with classic Italian pasta, chicken, fish, and veal dishes. Try the tongue-massaging vitello Milanese with breaded veal cutlet, lemon, and white wine ($16.95) or the scampi Livornese with jumbo shrimp, capers, Kalamata olives, and freshly chopped tomatoes ($18.95). Prepare for a marathon or a lazy afternoon of marathon watching with pasta dishes such as the fettucine Alfredo ($12.50), ravioli di carne ($12.95), and spaghetti vecchio mondo with eggplant, mushrooms, basil, and tomato sauce ($12.75).
Today's Groupon gets you $40 of some of the best pizza in Oceanside (476 miles west of the Mason-Dixon Line) for just $20. Capozzoli's Pizzeria & Restaurant serves crispy thin-crust pizzas with fresh meats, vegetables, and cheeses, and offers 15 different 18" thin-crust pies, each combining classic Italian ingredients packed with bursting flavor, bursting with packed flavor, and flavored with bursting packets. Click here to discuss Groupon the Cat.
In homage to Philadelphia, The CheeseSteak Grill transplants the City of Brotherly Love's authentic recipes, hearth-baked Amoroso's rolls, and liberating meats tenderized by Rocky's justice-laden fists. The menu tips its tri-cornered hat to taste with signature items such as the 12" steak or chicken cheesesteak, dripping in melted cheese and caramelized onions ($8.59), or its cousin, the foot-long cheesesteak hoagie, loaded with steak, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and your choice of cheesy topping—provolone cheese, white american cheese, or cheese whiz ($8.99). Making a layover in the Midwest, the chefs also serve up Italian beef dips with roast beef and Chicago-style sauce ($8.45 for a foot-long), as well as kid-friendly fare served with fries and a drink, such as home-style chicken tenders ($4.99) and classic corndogs made with real, all-beef Nathan's dogs ($3.99). Philly fanatics can pair any edible with a fine selection from a list of microbrews, draft beers, and wines, all of which pair nicely with the eatery's sporty satellite TVs and attentive, human-friendly staff.
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.