When Maynard's Restaurant opened its first location on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in 1998, it was a melding of the nostalgic and the modern. Sure, it was an old-fashioned diner, but one that added a gourmet flair to its American casual cuisine done right. It features an approachable menu with generous portions and plenty of variety for those repeat visits, from a pot-roast French dip to a butternut squash ravioli swimming in cranberry cream sauce. In 2005, a second branch opened in Rogers with equally comforting ambience, swapping out the lakeside locale for a cabin-esque dining room lit by a roaring fireplace.
When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked on site, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same. Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
You'll have a major decision to make at Olde Main Eatery: breakfast or lunch? An all-day breakfast menu of omelets and biscuits and gravy pits itself against a slate of light wraps and hearty patty melts. The french toast tempts with its light cinnamon coating, as do burgers and build-your-own deli sandwiches stacked on sourdough, marble rye, and croissant slices. The 150-year-old diner exudes an air of small-town Americana, from its green- and white-striped awning and historic photographs lining the wall, to the staff's impromptu productions of The Music Man.
From humble beginnings as a single donut shop in Lakewood, California, in 1953, Denny's has grown into a nationwide destination for classic American diner food served around the clock. Today, just shy of 1,800 locations thrive across the nation, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any time that guests feel a hunger for good food. Family owned and operated, Denny's of Otsego's friendly and attentive staff serves up a menu of more than 100 options, including build-your-own breakfasts and burgers and fried fish for an all-you-can-eat meal on Fridays.
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.