If the wooden tables that stretch across Country Kitchen’s dining room were any less sturdy, they would buckle under the weight of the sizzling platters of Southern fare that chefs trot out for unlimited buffets. Old-time recipes of fried and baked chicken vie for attention alongside a menu of specialties that rotate daily; the weekend’s seafood gumbo and fried catfish give way to succulent barbecued sausages that can spice up any Monday. Southern cuisine is known for its show-stealing sides and desserts, and Country Kitchen delivers in spades on both counts. Fried hush puppies and vegetable dishes refuse to take a backseat to their main-course counterparts, and a dessert bar exudes nostalgia with heaping servings of bread pudding, peach cobbler, and ice cream. Between bites, guests seated under cheerful framed artworks or beside a colorful rooster statue can reminisce about childhoods spent wrestling catfish or plucking ripe morsels of corn bread fresh from the vine.
Sarita's Mexican Grill & Cantina owner Rudi Gomez owes his restaurant’s panoply of authentic fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos to his mother’s time-tested catalog of Mexican specialties. The steam rising from bowls of chicken tortilla soup and sizzling shrimp fajitas caught the eye of WAFB Channel 9's Culinary Corner hosts, who recently invited Rudi into their studios to share some of his recipes and tortilla-tossing techniques. When not evoking desert sunsets with their multicolored arrangements of rice, salsas, and crisp tomatoes, Rudi and his fellow chefs stray across the border to cook up local favorites such as hand-patted burgers and po boys. Signature margaritas entrance taste buds in a medley of flavor infusions, and frothy brews douse the lingering fires of hot salsa. Outdoor tables invite warm-weather lounging with free WiFi and bottles of sour cream to lather on in lieu of sunscreen.
As a sports-nutrition store and smoothie shop, Sunset Smoothie blends fruit and health boosters into tasty performance drinks. These smoothies suit many kinds of diet and exercise plans by serving up both low-fat and muscle-building treats that come in a variety of sweet flavors. Even the indulgent Cheat Days smoothies use Splenda in lieu of sugar, sweetening flavors including banana split and cookies ‘n’ cream. Lacto-sensitive sippers can indulge in allergen-free soy smoothies blended with ice and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. Extras pulled from the supplement side of the store enhance smoothies with Muscle Milk, creatine, and vitamin B-12, resulting in a more fortifying drink than Hulk Hogan’s upper-lip sweat.
A homegrown success story with a slew of awards and nearly 40 years of history, Popeyes has introduced its menu of Louisiana eats to taste seekers around the globe. Rather than downloading low-quality, unsatisfying meals through the Internet, packs can pick up Popeyes’ family-style meals, pairing eight pieces of Cajun fried chicken with four buttermilk biscuits and a side of award-winning rice and beans ($16.99). A po boy stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($3.49) makes a splash in lunchboxes, and chicken nuggets ($2.49 for six pieces) surf into mouths on waves of refreshing sweet tea ($2.99/gal.).
At Rocco's New Orleans Style Poboys & Cafe, chef Troy Moreau channels Big Easy culinary traditions into a menu rife with po boys and Cajun dishes. Each po boy begins with classic french bread that, like a spit-roasted marshmallow Peep, has a crisp crust and a light, airy interior. The roast-beef po boy drips with homemade brown gravy ($9.49 for a whole), and the frito's Cajun-spiced fried-chicken po boy ($8.99 for a whole) brims with piquant flavors. In keeping with tradition, chefs dress all po boys with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles. Chicken-and-sausage gumbo ($3.99 for a cup) and a basket of crispy fried shrimp quell seafood cravings in tandem with fries and hush puppies ($9.99). The eatery's TVs light up with high-octane sporting events or adrenaline-pumping home-shopping programs as fans sip Miller Lite and Killian's brews.
Having tossed more than two billion wings in its franchise's history, Wingstop’s chefs have perfected the art of sizzling chicken until its outsides crunch and its insides are tenderized before drizzling wings in one of nine flavors of sauce. Wingstop's menu brims with digit-delectables and succulent sides such as bourbon baked beans ($1.59+), which simmer with rich and hearty flavors. Both boneless and original wings ($6.29 for 10 wings) come flavored with your pick of nine sauces, including hickory smoked barbecue, hawaiian, teriyaki, and atomic, which is spicy enough to finally melt away the icicles stuck on one's mustache. With three kinds of dip ($0.69 each), diners can temper Cajun-sauce-drenched wings with cool ranch dip, or introduce the zesty lemon-pepper sauce to a blue-cheese dip. A combo plate packages two chicken-fillet sandwiches, seasoned hand-cut fries, and a 20-ounce soda for on-the-go eats ($7.69).