When even the most inexperienced chef visits Dinners Done Right's spacious kitchen, she can whip up 12 meals in two hours; gourmet ones—from apricot-glazed pork roast to chicken fajitas. It all sounds a bit unrealistic, until you consider the hefty head start visitors have on the typical from-scratch cook, who typically only has scratch. The building blocks for each of their meals await—freshly pre-cut and prepped—at stations throughout the company's kitchen. With the assistance of a hostess, easy-to-follow instructions, and all the necessary kitchen tools, visitors simply combine the ingredients into freezer-ready containers, first seasoning them to taste with a host of spices and herbs. When customers get home, they can freeze their handiwork for a future quick and easy meal or bake, grill, or slow-cook it to impress dinner guests on the spot.
Zato Bar & Grill sates pernicious cravings and thirsts with American fare and thirst quenchers ushered throughout a modern bar setting. Prepare for a flavorful feast with an appetizer, such as a California roll—Alaskan crab, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in an orange tobiko and sesame-seed sleeping bag ($8.99)—or the artichoke dip—a smooth blend of cream cheese, parmesan, and anaheim chilis ($9.79). Between the buns of the barbecue burger, homemade barbecue sauce flows like piquant magma across applewood-smoked bacon, crispy onion strings, and cheddar cheese atop a patty of natural beef ($11.99). The grilled pacific-northwest salmon swimmingly combines local, marinated coho salmon with Asian basting sauce on a fluffy bed of sweet ginger rice framed by a cucumber salad and hoisin-grilled onions ($17.99). Satisfy sweet teeth or teeth that taste like bones by stroking softly through the warm meltaway brownie, which arrives tableside with pairings of ganache and vanilla ice cream ($5.99).
Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for more than 25 years—fleshing out its lineup of specialty pizzas with a munificent menu featuring an array of classic and complex versions. Traditionalists of Italian fare can indulge in the spicy italian with pepperoni, sausage, and invisible Da Vinci-shaped meat (a $16.99 value for a large), and more progressive pie enthusiasts may select the hawaiian barbecue-chicken pizza––a vacation-inducing amalgamation of grilled chicken, barbecue sauce, hickory-smoked bacon, onions, and pineapple (a $16.99 value). Choose to indulge a creative culinary streak by designing a large Create Your Own pizza, selecting up to five toppings from an arsenal of dough accessories, including ham, banana peppers, and artichoke hearts (up to a $20.94 value). Like a bangin’ club or especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune eatery for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
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.