The Jersey Giant enchants afternoons, evenings, and late nights with classic English pub specialties, over 20 tap beers, and an atmosphere that evokes the charming old cusps of the land of Angles. A plate of deep-fried yam frites off of The Jersey Giant's menu engages incisors in a foolhardy duel ($5.59), and the legendary fish 'n' chips, fresh beer-battered halibut decked out with tartar sauce, recalls dormant memories of vestigial gills and deep-sea dominance ($15.99).
Top bands like Three Days Grace and Bobnoxious have strummed their guitars on stage at Norma Jean's, which features live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Throughout the rest of the week, the lively rock club hosts an array of special events, from karaoke to pool tournaments. To fuel this constant stream of revelry, the club's kitchen serves juicy housemade burgers, crispy pizzas, and specialty dinners such as slow-cooked roast beef. It even offers breakfast on weekends, including banana pancakes and meaty enchiladas.
Located inside a 100-year-old home, the dining room of Rino's Kitchen is packed with country-style chairs surrounded by dark wood trim and whitewashed wainscoting. Chef Rino Bortolin serves up large and small plates as rustic as the décor, made using local ingredients from local growers whenever possible. The menu changes seasonally based on what's available, incorporating meats such as pulled pork and rabbit. Out back, diners can eat al fresco while enjoying live music or watching cooking demonstrations by local vendors and farmers.
Regardless of which Dave & Buster's location you visit, you can count on being fed and entertained. The sprawling entertainment complexes feature full bars with specialty cocktails and dining areas that serve burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and other dishes that have been voted onto American food menus by congress representatives past and present. Most locations have a billiards area, and all have a Million Dollar Midway, the franchise's uber game room that consists of rows of blinking and ticket-spewing arcade games.
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 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 hark 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.
As a teen, Eleni Gountanos worked with her father at the family grocery store. Her passion for fresh, local produce became more nuanced as she got older, and today, she makes regional ingredients the cornerstone of her restaurant, 417 Restaurant & Lounge. Executive Chef Tyson Lambert incorporates said ingredients into European-inspired dishes. Those range from upscale versions of bar food, such as duck confit poutine, to the out-and-out upscale, such as braised beef check served with goat cheese soufflé. The bar likewise favours local flavours with an extensive selection of Ontario craft beers and microbrews. The rest of the drink menu includes local coffees, teas, and fixings for signature cocktails such as the beet down, a blend of tequila, honey, and beets.
Just as 417’s cuisine combines bar food and fine dining, its dining area blends elements of an upscale restaurant and a laidback lounge. Per the Toronto Star, “wall mounts of teeming water” surround diners alongside faux fireplaces, a safe, toasty alternative to trying to hide a bonfire under the table. The soundtrack bounces between the romantic crooning of Frank Sinatra to the anthemic melodies of Arcade Fire. Every Friday and Saturday night, those tunes give way to the upbeat playlists of live DJs who convert the two-level restaurant into a club complete with bottle service.