When The Original First Turn Steakhouse opened in 1984, it was so close to the Daytona Speedway that diners could almost feel the breeze of the checkered flag as it signaled the end of a race. In those days, the Hilliard family’s hand-cut steaks and chicken wings drew professional drivers and racing teams straight from the track. Though the Hilliards have since relocated their restaurant, they have maintained the same racing memorabilia, all-American menu, and regular customers—some of whom helped with the move by stuffing as many rib eyes as they could into the trunks of their stock cars.
If one of those drivers was to take a detour through the kitchen today, he would find chefs grilling USDA Black Angus steaks and coating wings in 12 different flavors of sauce, from mild honey barbecue to the so-called “suicide sauce.” Diners seated on the sprawling 5,000-square-foot deck can order oysters from the raw bar and drinks from the tiki bar, raising their voices to be heard over the live bands that perform five nights a week.
When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.
Tim and Melinda Booth founded Booth’s Bowery in 1984 and have been serving classic American food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ever since. House specialties include half-pound burgers, wings slathered in 1 of 10 homemade sauces, and homestyle dinners featuring meatloaf, liver and onions, or pork chops. For breakfast, golden-brown belgian waffles can be topped with fresh fruit, nuts, and a self-portrait drawn in syrup. Antiques and collectibles line the dining-room walls and include a vintage toy ferris wheel from the 1947 Chicago Toy Fair.