Only the boldest, hungriest diners dare take on A&G Burger Joint’s Creature Burger—a gigantic tower of meats, toppings, and pickles weighing in at more than four pounds. But if these intrepid eaters can polish off the hefty burger—along with a pound of fries—they are rewarded with a t-shirt, plaque, and $20 gift card.
The Creature Burger is the brainchild of chef Alex Parra, who also extends his culinary expertise to a variety of more diminutive burgers. Deep in his kitchen, the skilled chef showers Angus beef patties with imaginative toppings, such as housemade barbecue sauce, fried egg, and roasted poblano peppers. Alex invites guests to invent their own burgers from a selection of five different buns, patties, cheeses, and sauces, encouraging them to come up with a name, back-story, and favorite Beatles song for their original creations—such as “Mustard-Yellow Submarine”. Out in the retro dining room, glasses of craft brews clink over plates of truffle fries between black-and-white walls speckled with old-fashioned pin-up artwork.
Mers Optical's locations in Hialeah West is chock-full of designer frames well suited for all manner of face shapes and personal styles. Independent doctors of optometry administer thorough eye exams, passing the results off to lens grinders who churn out single-vision, bifocal, and progressive lenses and fit them into frames from the likes of Lacoste, Ray-Ban, Fendi, and Mr. Potato Head.
Daniel Gonzalez has a wealth of culinary knowledge. After working in a continental restaurant, he managed the argentinean steak house Rinc?n Argentino. He brings that know-how to French Bistro, a casual eatery offering French, continental, and steak-house cuisine. The menu is filled with French dishes, including escargot swimming in garlic butter and chicken normandy drizzled with a rich asparagus sauce. Myriad cuts of steak and seafood meals are available, and other European-influenced dishes dot the menu, such as gnocchi in a red sauce and chicken parmigiana served with an Italian flag as a napkin.
What originally began as a modest shop in the back of a home in Santiago de Cali has morphed into Sandwich Qbano, a sandwich chain with locations across Colombia and Florida. The eatery churns out wraps, salads, and sandwiches such as the italiano, the teriyaki, and the classic cuban.
Ali's Sweet Treats bakes and decorates photo-emblazoned cookies customizable for any occasion. After customers send one high-resolution photo file via email or holographic carrier pigeon, Ali's army of confectionary connoisseurs turn the image into edibles baked with real vanilla and pure butter with no trans fat. Choose to overlay a baby photo, hand-drawn design, or mug shot of Cookie Monster onto 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch round cookies, or 3.5-inch rectangular cookies. Each order is then packaged in a clear cellophane bag and tied with a colorful satin ribbon. Any design can be cropped to the customer's specification, and patrons may choose to add up to three wise words of wisdom to the design for no additional cost.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.