When you bite into the juicy tomatoes and finely tuned sauces that grace the pizza pies and strombolis at Johnny Brusco's New York Style Pizza, you're experiencing a genealogy of flavor that extends back to the recipes of Johnny Pace in his 1965 Manlius, New York, pizza shop. Today the restaurant prides itself on using the finest ingredients and a diligent sauce-stirring wrist to deliver a lot of love (and just a sprinkle of hatred to give it zing) into every savory bite.
Within a wooden barn with bright-red shutters, Old Style Bar-B-Q ovens smoke up barbeque classics and southern-style specialties. Since Rick and Carla Dlugach first opened its doors in 1976, the restaurant has blossomed into a full-service dining area with a 100-seat private banquet hall and a takeout seating area. Bowls of homemade chili, slabs of ribs, and barbeque sandwiches partner with sides such as turnip greens and coleslaw. Regulars recommend sealing the meal with a fraction or whole number of southern pecan pie, an alternately crunchy and gooey dessert made from a classic recipe. Western décor adds a saloon vibe to the dining room, while a delivery window allows customers to enjoy meals without leaving the seat of their car, truck, or ferret-drawn bobsled.
Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
Aromas of marinated T-bone steaks hitting the grill alongside caramelizing onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes waft from the kitchen of El Amigo toward guests sipping margaritas in the dining room. In the kitchen, cooks prepare their full menu of Mexican dishes including burrito, fajita, and enchilada mainstays alongside inventive house specialties such as pork ribs deep fried to a golden brown and cooked with red hot sauce. As meals progress and patrons continue to take bites of nachos or secret notes, they sip imported or domestic beers, wines, and specialty margaritas in raspberry and peach.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
Chef Jonathan Mah is out to prove that it doesn’t take an army to run a restaurant. Mah, who started working in the food industry before he was old enough to drive a car, runs SideStreet Burgers all by himself as the head chef, dishwasher, waiter, and cashier. He does have a little help, though—his dad, who also runs his own one-man restaurant, is often on hand to give advice.
There are a few simple steps to ordering the perfect SideStreet burger. First, place orders with Mah at the counter and then wait a few minutes while he sizzles up beef or turkey patties and tops them with a cheddar-, mozzarella-, and parmesan-cheese blend, sautéed onions, or a fried egg. Next, head to the toppings bar to dress burgers to the nines with veggies, housemade sauces, and sesame-seed cufflinks. Finally, enjoy your creation—and sides such as garlic potato wedges or cincinnati chili—at a pair of wooden picnic tables inside the dining room.