Chefs at The Village Mediterranean Restaurant & Pastries prepare a full menu of Mediterranean specialties including lamb, beef, and shrimp kebabs and eight kinds of savory pie bundled in housemade dough. But the restaurant is probably most popular for its traditional Middle Eastern pastries. An in-house pastry chef prepares more than 100 different desserts from scratch. Sticky triangles of cashew, walnut, and almond baklava form one pillar of the pastry roster, while maamoul walnut cookies and namoura—squares of semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup and topped with almonds—are available by the platter should you need to host a party or lure a nest of honeybees away from your stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh.
Cold or hot, it's guaranteed to delight if it comes from Palato. Gelato and coffee are the specialties, with hand-written chalkboard menus shouting toothsome options from the cafe's sherbet-colored walls. Their sweet, almond-based cookie sandwiches have a cream filling with specific flavors such as Nutella, Pistachio, White Chocolate Coconut, and Red Velvet. Smoothies and milk shakes blend the sweetness of dessert with the drinking straws, while a range of coffees includes espresso, frappes, and the house signature Palaccino.
The signature sandwiches at Gyroville might be named after Greek Gods?Zeus, Hermes, Athena?but the power to control your mealtime destiny can rest in your hands, if you so choose. The shop's You Build It meals allow you to customize your own dish in just three easy steps. Start by choosing a pita, rice bowl, wheat wrap, or salad, then add one of four proteins, such as gyro meat, pork, or vegetarian falafel. From there, the only thing left to do is top your creation with one of six sauces that are made fresh daily such as tzatziki or Mediterranean relish. Truly herculean appetites can also choose to add one or two of Gyroville's sides, such as spinach pie or hearty tomato vegetable soup.
Custom Mexican feasts bursting with fresh ingredients populate Salsa Fiesta Grill?s lengthy menu, which teams up with seven house-made salsas to swathe palates in authentic south-of-the-border flavors. After selecting a protein-packed filling such as spice-spiked carnitas and seasoned fish, diners can top their burritos or tacos with fixings that include hot-tamale salsa and roasted corn. Pico de gallo and guacamole flank sizzling chicken and roasted peppers in the fiesta-fajita specialty, and the tostones fiesta bowl wakes taste buds from siesta naps by tossing them into a thick pool filled with crispy tostones, beans, pico de gallo, and sour cream. Swollen with velvety chocolate, whipped cream, and swirls of dulce de leche, a crunchy mayan roll prophesies an imminent doomsday for dessert cravings.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.