For the past 60 years, the finger-lickin’ staff at Hienie’s McCarthy’s has impressed locals with a full menu of fried chicken, homemade soups and chili, and other tasty accoutrements. The eatery's extensive menu boasts chicken dinners big enough for a single person or a handful of hungry giants ($7.25/4-piece meal), as well as fried seafood, including jumbo-shrimp dinners ($11) and calamari ($7.99/lb.). Sink incisors into a deluxe sandwich, such as the tuna melt ($4.50) or the meatball sub ($4.25). A mandarin salad with grilled chicken breast (small $4.25, large $7.25) exercises next to a sluggish bowl of macaroni salad, whose jabbing elbows keep it from moving as a cohesive unit ($3/lb.).
Extreme Pita's efficient sandwich technicians furnish globally inspired pocket meals focused on healthy, made-to-order fare and fresh produce. A hearty menu greets customers with a selection of custom pita sandwiches ($5.99 small; $6.89 large) that boast bases of falafel, vegetables, beef and lamb gyro, and philly cheesesteak with fresh vegetables and sauces. The chef-inspired menu section includes dressed-up selections such as the bourbon chipotle pita that graces tongues with delicious curtsies from grilled chicken, bacon, and cheddar, and the chicken shawarma, whose pita blanket arrives padded with seasoned chicken, tabouleh, and lemon garlic sauce. Diners may also chomp flat-baked creations deserving of a spot in the open-faced sandwich history books, such as the Hawaiian Luau, which supports a nest of ham, bacon, pineapple, and mozzarella ($6.29).
Since 1981, TCBY has been synonymous with frozen yogurt. The company spearheaded the guiltless consumption of low-fat, chilled dairy treats with iconic flavors such as white chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit and candy. Today, TCBY yogurt shops across the country continue the tradition with classic and specialty flavors such as caramel supreme, greek honey vanilla, and sugar- and fat-free mountain blackberry.
When Debbi Fields opened the first Mrs. Fields in 1977, it wasn’t all sunshine and cookies. Between her lack of business experience and the unorthodox business model—selling only cookies—not many people believed in her. More than 30 years and a global franchise later, it’s safe to say the doubters are eating their words, at least when they're not busy stuffing their faces with one of Debbi's signature semisweet chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and walnut cookies.
The wild popularity of Mrs. Fields's cookies can be attributed to the richness of their basic ingredients: real butter, whole eggs, and special blends of chocolate. Classic flavors include chewy fudge, peanut butter, and white chocolate macadamia, and seasonal flavors complement the lineup throughout the year. Select varieties can also be made into cookie cakes of various sizes and shapes that add a delicious twist to any celebration or milk-truck spill.
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 jalapeños.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the "International House of Pancakes." Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.