Seasoned staffers wheel a small cart directly up to dining room tables, where they smash avocados into a palatable paste of fresh guacamole right before guests' eyes. This appetizer fuels treks through Cinco de Mayo Amigos Cantina's lengthy menu, which spotlights Mexican favorites infused with authentic ingredients such as pork carnitas, carne asada, and spicy mole sauce. The restaurant's exposed brick walls house weeknight karaoke, as well as other weekly events including Salsa Night on Saturday, Ladies' Night on Thursday, and Day Planner Appreciation Night on Tuesday. On the outdoor patio, guests can get their fill of fresh air and sunshine as they sample 20 varieties of margaritas.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
The Wetzel name wasn?t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, ?Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!? on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel?s Pretzels. After years in Nestle?s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick?s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel?s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalape?os.
Though the chefs at Hot Spot Cafe & Pizzeria may craft an array of classic Italian dishes, they don't limit themselves to the flavors traditionally used in Italy. Instead, they load their deli sandwiches and pizzas with a diverse range of ingredients. Chefs layer together hot sandwiches filled with beef tongue and a sprinkling of onions and parsley alongside staples such as club sandwiches. For their pizzas, they get even more creative. The Armenian pizza features garlic sauce and feta cheese, and the spicy Hawaiian pairs ham with pineapple, jalapeno, bacon, roasted red pepper, and a drizzling of hot sauce. They still offer a limited menu of classic Italian dishes, such as bowls of pasta and appetizers shaped like boots.
The culinary team at Clamdiggers of Toledo whips up a mix of American fare classics, from crispy chicken wings doused in barbecue sauce to a blue-cheese burger seasoned with Cajun spices. Guests can feast atop stools at the indoor bar or dine on the massive deck as wafts of fresh air billow in from the Maumee River. Because of its riverside locale, Clamdiggers of Toledo accommodates visitors with docking for more than 30 boats or catfish-drawn chariots, and more traditional travelers can sidle into parking-lot spaces. Once they've arrived, guests can settle in until 2:30 a.m. seven days a week. Every Thursday–Saturday, guests groove to tunes spun by Jim Lieber and Sounds of Music.
Since its founding in 1983, Magic Wok’s open-style kitchens have entertained onlookers and delighted taste buds with meals cooked-to-order in the establishment’s namesake pan. Founder Sutas Pipatjarasgit’s guiding principle–that all dishes must be freshly made–empowers diners to customize each menu item to their personal tastes, dropping disliked vegetables from stir fries or adding extra meat to hearty bowls of noodles. Seven locations around Ohio and one in southeastern Michigan make acquisition of Magic Wok’s fast, fresh fare an easy task for mall-goers, students at the University of Toledo, or hungry octopi with very long arms.