Don’t let the shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and draft beers fool you. Though Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery snatches up the best cultural fragments of Scotland, England, and the Emerald Isle, the eatery started in Las Vegas. Restaurateur Mark DiMartino sought to combine the communal, rousing feel of pubs in the British Isles with the campy fun of American sports bars, pairing hearty food and traditional trappings with televisions and waitresses clad in mini kilts and alluring plaid halter-tops modeled after William Wallace’s eveningwear.
Since its founding, Tilted Kilt locations have popped up in 25 states and two Canadian provinces, serving all manner of hybrid dishes such as the Scottish cheese steak, the Sloppy Jane made with sliced turkey or shaved rib eye, and the Tilted Guilt, an ice-cream sundae perched atop a cookie.
For more than 30 years, the cooks at Vitale's Italian Cuisine have served up authentic Sicilian fare made from imported pastas, sauces built from scratch, and fresh Italian bread. Jaws warm up after yearlong vows of silence by chewing through calamari and deep-fried mushrooms before delving into patron-beloved spinach rotolo composed of three baked pasta wheels rolled with cheese and spinach. In the kitchen, meat entrees such as chicken parmigiana are prepared by chefs locally renowned for their artful use of chicken and seafood. Cooks roll out slabs of pizza dough to meet diners' extra-thin or stuffed-crust specifications, then invite green peppers, sausage, or sun-dried tomatoes to mingle on its bubbly golden surface. A full bar pours beer, liquor, and 30 wines culled from vineyards across a 4th-grade classroom's globe.
Though its building is a relic of the 19th century and its kitchen whips up 21st-century recipes, Brooklyn Grill evokes New York City in the 1940s. Black-and-white photos of classic New York scenes join wood-paneled walls, old-fashioned lampposts, and exposed brick to create a chic urban atmosphere. The menu enhances the New York theme by dropping mob references in its recipe names, such as the Breaded Bullets mushrooms, the Bugsy Seigel buffalo burger, and the Staten Island Sting sandwich with vegetables and a three-cheese blend. Brooklyn Grill's bar complements each meal with a domestic or imported beer, a glass of wine, or one of many house martinis.
At Mahoney's All-American Grill, chef Ryan Nolan dishes up American comfort classics such as pulled-pork sandwiches, Guinness-beef stew, and beer-battered shrimp. The housemade mac ‘n’ cheese blends five cheeses, and daily specials such as the all-you-can-eat haddock or broasted chicken can make diners feel as satisfied as a sumo wrestler who can touch his toes. Along with happy-hour specials and a private party room, Mahoney's keeps guests entertained with sports-broadcasting TVs so Wisconsin fans never have to miss a game while enjoying a burger, beer, or both.
The cooks at Jansen's Bar and Restaurant toil over grills and fryers to fill a menu strewn with seared treats and golden-battered fare in a cheery barroom setting. Servers sling appetizers such as cheese curds ($4.99) to guests, and homespun meals of fried haddock and chips accouter themselves elegantly with toast, tartar sauce, and sliced doilies ($7.99). The juicy steak-tenderloin sandwich ($10.99) leads a brigade of burgers and sandwiches, cheered on by the grill's waves of aromatic fanfare. The weekly Friday fish fry wraps baby pike in crisp cloaks ($7.99–$11.99) and keeps guests forging their way back to the dining room. Bartenders ferry brews to cheery patrons against a backdrop of wood paneling bedecked with neon beers signs, stuffed trophy fish, and autographed headshots of famous burgers.
Blue Agave boasts a menu chock-full of Western-inspired grill fare. Commence a zesty supper with mini tortitas, a twist on burger sliders dolloped with cool guacamole ($8.99). An entree of buffalo-chicken fajitas drizzled in mango habanera and donned with crunchy jalapeno rings ($13.99) or a pecan-crusted Maryland-crab-cake sandwich coated in chipotle ranch and salsa ($8.99) top off empty stomach space otherwise occupied by freeloading ramen noodles, accompanied by an arsenal of comforting south-of-the-border sides and meal garnishes, such as seasoned fries, pico de gallo, and John Wayne's salty yet ever so manly tears. Satisfied guests can lean back and sip a tequila sunrise ($3.99), domestic and imported beer ($3–$5), or a chalice of vino ($5.50) poured from Blue Agave's loaded cache of libations.