Over the past four decades, Starbucks has bloomed from a single coffee shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market to more than 17,000 stores responsible for caffeinating 55 countries. The company’s smiling, green-aproned baristas have become the mascots of many people’s morning routine, pouring cups of dark, medium, and blonde roast for coffee purists and adding shots of caramel or white chocolate to more elaborate espresso creations and treats such as a Frappuccino blended beverage.
Concerned with more than flavour, Starbucks strives to fill its menu with responsibly sourced coffee, cocoa, and tea that protect the farmers and bioregions they come from. These efforts have earned the company a spot on Ethisphere's 2013 list of the world's most ethical companies.
Under its cabana-style roof, Bron's Shaved Ice takes the edge off the summer swelter with frozen treats. Guests can cool down with more than 50 flavors of smooth shaved ice, from classics such as strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate to exotic spins including coconut cream pie and wedding cake.
Since its founding in 1976, Vick’s Famous Hamburgers has slung sizzling burgers between toasted buns alongside golden fries and fizzy soft drinks. Each of its Corpus Christi locations harken back to drive-thru days of yore with hand-painted lettering or portraits of hamburgers and fried chicken illuminated by buzzing neon signs. In the bustling kitchens, chefs hand-bread fish and fry white and dark meat chicken, tucking them into baskets with fries or between hearty sandwich buns. Staffers hand burgers piled with chili, mushrooms, cheese, and other toppings and bubbly root-beer floats though walk-up and drive-thru windows, ready to sate appetites on Vick’s outdoor patios or the nearest Autobahn.
At its May 2012 opening, Chubby's Gourmet Grill unveiled a menu of half-pound certified Angus beef burgers and quarter-pound all-beef hot dogs, each seared to order and served with a mound of well-seasoned potato wedges. The WiFi-equipped grill specializes in classic American eats with a twist. Cooks garnish made-to-order burgers and dogs with an inventive array of toppings such as the Big Kahuna’s blend of teriyaki peppers, citrus relish, and a signed photograph of Gidget star Cliff Robertson or the Tijuana Mama’s spread of charro beans, chipotle mayo, and cheddar cheese all slathered atop a bacon-wrapped frank.
Mole sauce is traditionally made with fistfuls of dried poblano peppers and hints of chocolate. Drawing on recipes for time-tested Mexican cuisine such as this, cooks at Tequila Restaurant fill the kitchen with the clatter of pots and pans. Chimichangas and avocados stuffed with strips of beef sizzle in hot oil, and carne asada crackles against a skillet beneath slices of peppers and onions. Ranks of tequila bottles stand on a shelf behind the bar, waiting to fill margarita glasses or help write a cowboy ballad that is due the next day.
A friendly owner and an array of housemade desserts add a down-home element to the dishes served at Atomic Omelette and Grill, where diner- and southern-style classics comprise an ample menu. For breakfast, signature omelets get a kick from pecan-smoked bacon and serrano peppers, and pancakes come in one of seven flavors such as bananas foster or white chocolate and macadamia nut. Later in the day, sliced rib-eye steak is stacked inside authentic philly cheesesteaks, and chicken-fried chicken is accompanied by garlic bread and gravy.