Big D's scoops more than 40 varieties of superpremium ice cream, gussies up Nathan's Famous all-beef hot dogs, and dishes out neighborhood hospitality to hungry hoards. Guests to this friendly, family-owned eatery can cool tempers and temperamental taste buds by ascending on cones piled high with chocolate, turtle, and amaretto-cherry scoops ($2.65/single). Or, enjoy the semisolid sweets in their most sippable state with an old-fashioned shake or malt ($4.55–$5.75). A treasure trove of toppings—including white-chocolate syrup, Butterfinger bits, and freshly chopped Oreos ($0.55/each)—await to adorn customizable sundaes ($3.50–$5.50), and a classic banana split ($5.95) can be shared among friends or repurposed as an extremely perishable viking hat.
At CiCi’s Pizza, feasters can sample hearty slices of pizza and a wide selection of buffet fare ($4.99 per person over 10 years of age), filling bellies like a pouch-stuffing kangaroo preparing to weather the harsh Australian winter. Offering endless helpings of fresh salads, tantalizing pastas, tasty desserts, and oven-fresh pizzas, CiCi’s tames the most voracious hunger attacks via all-you-can-eat tactics. Pizza dough is made fresh daily and doused in a savory sauce crafted from vine-ripened tomatoes and prescience-instilling spices, while salads are hand-tossed with the freshest ingredients delivered hourly via teleportation.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
In 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shoppe, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shoppe got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.
Stepping inside The Pizza Machine & Co. always feels a little bit like stepping into a carnival. Staffers hand-toss discs of dough high into the air like jugglers, a pizza-themed chandelier mimics the feeling of a fun house, and an in-house buggy touted as the world’s first pizza-delivery vehicle acts as an intriguing sideshow. Though the sights might draw customers in, the shop, like any good carnival, has to keep them coming back. That’s where the restaurant’s chefs come in, creating hand-tossed pizzas and Italian cuisine in both classic forms and zany reinventions. Take their signature 40-inch pizza, for instance, which dons an unlimited combination of toppings to feed several dozen people. Their standard-sized pizzas often mimic the flavors of classic dishes, as with such fan favorites as the bruschetta, the hero, and the taco pizza. They also pair their pies with appetizers and desserts such as cheesy breadsticks, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and s’mores pizzas to create a meal as flavorful as a Willy Wonka employee’s severance package.
The Cockeyed Pig permeates a menu of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork with an outback smoker's timber-tickled flavors, complemented by headline-grabbing Ol' South Fine Swine barbecue sauce. Fire up chompers and high-octane sporks to slash through the Chainsaw's Favorite belief-beggaring feast of St. Louis–style ribs, pulled pork, and Hoot's Texas brisket, coupled with a duo of sides including the customer-favorite potato salad and Mama's style mac 'n' cheese ($20, serves one to two people). Pepe's burrito entree channels a border-bridging tortilla stuffed with sliced brisket into a basket trimmed with ranch house beans ($9.50). Hushpuppies huddle around the catfish dinner's stream-torn centerpiece ($8.95) to form a table decoration fit for a grizzly bear graduation.
Up in Smoke Smokehouse & Bar B Que opened its doors in June 2012, liberating the aromas of slow-smoked brisket and pork into the surrounding lakeside air. Inside, chefs step out from behind plumes of smoke produced by hickory wood to place their meaty masterpieces next to classic Southern sides, which are always handmade and never crafted from leftovers or won during games of jacks with rival restaurants. Group options, such as Up in Smoke's picnic package, fill the bellies of entire families, and a kids' menu is also available.