The cooks at Sammy’s reinvent American diner classics by piling 1/3-pound beef patties with unusual ingredients and blending numerous varieties of pie into gourmet milk shakes. Burger behemoths include Ben's Big Belly Burger, with a meaty base that hides beneath swiss cheese, grilled onions, grilled pineapple, guacamole, teriyaki sauce, and mayonnaise. Other treats include the Hey Nikki You're So Fine grilled-chicken sandwich and the Something About Mary, a black-bean patty caught in a farcical love hexagon of sautéed onions, pepper jack, pico de gallo, avocado, lettuce, and tomato.
In addition to concocting signature pie shakes in flavors such as mint Oreo and four different types of cheesecake, the team at Sammy's blends smoothies, regular shakes and malts, and cupcake shakes in flavors such as spiced carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting. Alongside the reformed diner fare, Sammy's regularly serves up live music events and a hip, relaxed atmosphere.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
After selling his Brazilian import store, Brazilian-born J.R. Lopez opened Braza Grill, a rodizio-style steak house reminiscent of the barbecue restaurants in his home country. Servers tote skewers loaded with pork sausage, garlic-infused tenderloin, and other meats from table to table, offering unlimited portions and variety to hungry diners. An open fire pit cooks the bacon-wrapped chicken and pork loins along with pineapples for a sweet sidekick. Patrons can stretch their legs and nonchalantly loosen their belts during trips to the hot and cold buffet stocked with pastas, salads, and a brazilian black-bean stew called feijoada, according to CityWeekly.
Spark's lunch menu offers an inspired selection of modern culinary treats to enjoy among the eatery's modern décor and soaring ceilings. Commence the meal by revisiting the meaty candy shops of yore with fried pork lollipops—juicy pork cuts coated with jalapeño tartar and orange sweet chili and served with lemon soy vinegar dipping sauces ($8). For a main bite, grab a gourmet grilled white-cheddar-cheese sandwich served on sourdough bread, lightly smothered in onion-sherry marmalade, and begging to be dipped into its side of tomato-parmesan soup. For dessert, climb up to the rafters and swan dive into a mound of refreshing sorbet ($5).
Every pitted pita at Pita Pit comes with your choice of flavorful vegetables and toppings, and you can even build your own—although you'd best leave the actual construction to Pita Pit's pita pit crew, who can skin, field-dress, chop, and fold your pita in a the blink of an eye. Exercise your mastication muscles on any of the Lebanese-style pita-ria's meatiest contenders: the Dagwood, with turkey, ham, and roast beef ($6.39); the chicken souvlaki with greek-seasoned chicken ($6.39); or the Philly with grilled onions and mushrooms ($6.39). Vigorously vegetarian options abound as well, including the hummus ($5.59) and the Garden, which packs a farm's worth of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and anything else that grows roots and is not human hair into its warm, bready folds ($5.59). There's even a breakfast menu (the Morning Glory contains scrambled eggs, avocado, grilled peppers and onions, and sauteed tomatoes, $5.89) and a healthy menu, which somehow finds a way to cut even more calories and fat from the already healthy regular menu, particularly if you ordered a build-your-own triple-cheese and bacon pita deep-fried in chocolate.
Somewhere deep in the Australian smokehouse's kitchen, the ethereal Wallaby brews up batches of a mystical elixir known as barbecue sauce made from scratch. This tongue-pleasing sauce produces a gravitational pull that attracts patrons toward slow-smoked meats available in small orders (5-ounce meat, one side) and larger orders (7-ounce meat, two sides). Meats include hand-pulled pork ($7.99–$9.99), beef brisket ($8.49–$10.49), and smoked turkey ($8.49–$10.49). Saddle up some sides on that mountain of meat with the popular smashers (potatoes), baked beans, coleslaw, fresh veggies, and more. There are also combo platters for the indecisive or those who want a multi-meat explosion. Wallaby's also serves many salads ($6.99–$9.49), salmon ($12.99), and shrimp on the barbie ($11.99).