An Italian native, Tonino's owner has shown the casual eatery’s chefs the ins and outs of Italian cuisine for more than 30 years. Panzerotto—the house specialty—is a baked or deep-fried pizza turnover headlining the menu, which also includes thin- and thick-crust pizzas that cradle sauce forged from fresh garlic, olive oil, and basil. Noodles such as orecchiette and ravioli anchor pasta dinners, and fillings such as Italian sausage and chicken parmigiana nestle inside sandwiches. A flurry of seasonings crash-land onto grilled calamari, which diners can wash down with beer and cocktails from the full bar.
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).
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.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Against the backdrop of seaside murals, Casa Margarita's indoor waterfalls and bubbling fountains transport diners to the shores of Cabo San Lucas. The restaurant, which has been in business for 18 years, features festive decor, live plants, a cacophony of colors. and authentic arches. Cooks tantalize tongues with plates full of authentic Mexican eats, such as carne asada, shrimp fajitas, and enchiladas, though, the star of this eatery is their margaritas. They come in a variety of experimental flavors, including mango, raspberry, and peach, or in the traditional style of lime juice and tequila on the rocks—a phrase that was first coined by cavemen mixologists.
It's Greek To Me packages a menu of fresh-made, traditional Greek fare into bulk trays, adding savory Hellenic flair to any gathering. Half and full platters of gyro meat lure guests with tempting aromas, siren songs, and sidekicks of tzatziki, onions, and tomatoes. Partygoers chat merrily as they combine ingredients, assembling gyro sandwiches and slathering hummus atop pita. Gardens of herbed rice and braised green beans stand ready to nestle beside entrees or please vegetarian friends, further enhancing Greek-style celebrations of birthdays, holidays, or successful expense reports.