The vision behind Speedy Gonzalez is simple: fresh Mexican fare served fast and free of pretension. Chefs plate dishes ranging from taco salad with a crispy shell to deep-fried, gooey burritos, plus specialty items including the signature deep-fried boneless chicken paired with honey bread. The dining room's simple taqueria style invites diners to enjoy their meals perched atop red, blue, green, and yellow chairs scooted under a long row of tables.
The owners and chefs at Santa Fe Cattle rely on old family recipes that demand steaks are aged and cut in-house, rolls are baked fresh each day, and signature sauces are mixed onsite. These touches transform the menu’s casual, regional eats into dishes worthy of John Wayne’s personal dressing-room buffet. Steaks, fajitas, and sliders are plated next to housemade sides of cole slaw, Santa Fe taters, and of course, a bucket of peanuts—which guests shuck directly onto the floor. The peanut shells add character to each one of the restaurant’s 20 locations, which evoke old-west saloons with touches such as brick walls draped in horse saddles and weathered wooden floors.
Among the oldest and longest-held single-family businesses in Kansas City, Pizza Shoppe began like many murder mysteries begin—during a dinner party on a dark and stormy night. Dick Ryan realized he was short on a key ingredient and decided to improvise, whipping up a pizza from what ingredients he had and baking it to a crispy crust. The first Pizza Shoppe pizza was born, with Dick's wife, Loreta, having the honor of the first bite. More than 45 years later, the pizzeria has expanded to 20 locations in four states, and its signature crispy crust has been topped by ever-bolder permutations of toppings. The Butcher Block emphasizes bacon and pork, while the BBQ Chicken accents its eponymous ingredients with pineapple, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese. Patrons can also paint their own dough-canvases with off-the-beaten-path ingredients that include corned beef, blue cheese crumbles, genoa salami, and dill pickles.
The very first International House of Pancakes opened its doors in Toluca Lake, California in 1958. Now, more than 1,000 locations populate the country's states and territories. They stuff bellies with hot lunch, bacon, eggs, and signature pancakes with toppings such as warm fruit compote or cream-cheese icing. The Tulsa location leaves its doors open 24 hours a day, satisfying midnight cravings and welcoming the morning with omelets wide open.
Amid the bright white walls and chocolate-hued wood accents that frame El Mojito’s frills-free décor, owner and chef Frank Olmos calls forth culinary fiestas with more than 30 Mexican specialties. The down-home kitchen crew spikes sizzling fajitas with guacamole and sour cream and transforms tortillas into comfy pockets for beef, chicken, or potatoes. A glowing green light fashioned from the husk of a radioactive cactus stretches across the eatery’s fully stocked bar, where mixologists masterfully shake and stir signature margaritas and mojitos.