In the dark of night, the brightly lit façades of The Fat Cactus locations glow like a beacon, beckoning diners to come and sample their classic Mexican and Tex-Mex foods. The restaurants' interiors are no less eye-catching. House-specialty fazzizzles—short for sizzling fajitas—top tables in dining rooms filled with vibrant reds and yellows. Rows of hubcaps glisten on walls next to strings of lights. And hundreds of emptied tequila bottles dangle from the ceiling, testament to the popularity of the menu's dozen specialty margaritas. For extra entertainment, musicians fill ears with their tuneful crooning every night, and a room with classic arcade games lets kids play at adult tasks, such as driving a car or helping zombies file their tax returns.
The word "sub" might be in the name, but the sandwiches at N&H Saigon Subs don't look anything like the standard deli fare. The shop specializes in the French-Vietnamese sandwiches known as báhn mì. Each one starts with a French-style baguette, into which chefs pile fillings, such as pork, grilled beef, and tofu along with traditional Vietnamese toppings like pate, cilantro, pickled carrots, and fresh cucumber. The rest of the eatery’s menu skews more traditional Vietnamese, with dishes such as shrimp rolls and vermicelli noodles with pork amongst the selections. And, to wash it all down, the staff also whips up cold smoothies and bubble teas in exotic flavors such as honeydew, coconut, red bean, mung bean, and baked bean.
More than 15 years ago, owners Mike and Amanda made the leap into bread-bound fare when they opened Fressers Delicatessen. The shop continues to thrive thanks to the culinary expertise of Mike and his mother, Eileen, who whip together every menu item onsite for customers lined up at the counter. The duo churns out a spectrum of deli eats, from traditional Jewish knishes to hearty salads and grilled sandwiches that tower over fellow noshes like a big brother standing on a chair. The Famous Fresser triple-decker sandwich piles the deli's biggest flavors into a single stack, bursting with sizzling corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, and melted swiss cheese between three slices of bread. Such ebullient fare has made Fressers a popular lunchtime-delivery joint, which also puts together meals for business lunches, dinner parties, and annual holiday gatherings.
After seeing the guitar head logo, it's not a surprise to walk into City Limits Saloon and see a musician strumming an acoustic or queuing up hits from the DJ station. Listen closer, and one might hear the frenzied swivel of foosball handles, the excitement over games of Golden Tee, or the thunks of darts sinking into their foam boards. However, biologists theorize that one cannot live solely on music and games, and so the saloon stocks its menu with Tex-Mex staples.
Chili and cheese soak into plates of waffle fries, while pork belly confit adds a savory texture to bowls of mac and cheese. Chimichangas, enchiladas, and burritos establish the Mexican bona fides of the menu. But the drinks at this establishment are of equal import—tall pints of craft beers and glasses of tequila flank the bounty of Tex-Mex. The moodily lit dining area is surrounded on almost all sides by brick walls, giving the feeling of eating in a wine cellar or a soda pop cellar owned by a mason.