You might notice every group eating a different dish at Crispy’s Beer & Wine Bar. That’s because the bar has BYOF policy—that’s short for bring your own food—which lets guests soak up the 39 craft brews on draft without having to snack on bar peanuts. This policy inspires patrons to linger over pints of hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or bottles of fruity Belgian Kasteel Rouge. The deep brown of Gulden Draak hints at its potent Belgian flavor and alcohol content, and light flits easily through the wheat-golden color of Paulaner Hefeweizen. Televisions overhead chatter, providing updates on athletic events or how scary the weatherman says thunder will be this weekend. Those who didn’t bring food snack on the bar’s small selection of locally produced appetizers and desserts such as chocolate-covered potato chips and beer brittle.
The bagel aficionados at Bagel World Café borrow the dual techniques of baking and boiling their signature breakfast staple from The Big Apple. Every day, they whip up batches of fresh bagels in more than 23 flavors, such as cinnamon crunch and jalapeno bialy. From honey vanilla to cheesecake, 12 flavors of house-made cream cheeses complement each bagel. Bagel World's sub and Kaiser rolls are likewise baked daily, rather than hastily assembled by squishing leftover bagels together. They serve as the foundation to half-pound sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats such as corned beef and cracked pepper turkey.
Woody Mills is thinking of his mother, Grace Meyer. In 1980, she collaborated with Woody and his wife Yolanda to formulate three recipes that became Woody's sweet, hot, and tangy-mustard sauces—the linchpins of the first Woody's Bar-B-Q in Jacksonville. At that point, Woody became the guardian of the family's legacy of southern-style barbecue, which medal-winning pitmaster Paul Kirk and barbecue historian Ardie Davis went on to feature in their roaster's anthology America's Best BBQ. And while the recipes remain a secret, Grace Meyer's legacy is anything but. Today, Woody's Bar-B-Q franchises bring the celebrated marriage between pickles and pulled pork to eight states throughout the country.
The menu kicks off with battered okra—fried exclusively with trans-fat-free oil—alongside the hearty and hotly contentious Brunswick stew, which both Georgia and Virginia claim as their own unique creation. Two types of pulled pork and ribs star among a roundup of beef brisket, shrimp, and chicken, all of which can be packed into a sandwich for a quick drive-thru meal or spread on platters for catered events. Through helpings of garlic toast, Texas gets a special nod on nearly every plate, whereas signature baked beans and fluffy cream pies evoke a broader southern tradition of using rich comfort food for physical comedy.
The baristas at Café Unique pour fresh-brewed coffee to complement sandwiches and entrees that are packed with organic greens and Amish meats and cheeses. Inside, the walls brim with vibrant paintings, jewelry, and canvas photographs by local artists. Outdoors, a spacious brick courtyard seats up to 300 guests for special events, and on regular days welcomes dogs to frolic around and bury bones in the fire pit. In the café's high-ceilinged ballroom, plush red chairs and a 35-foot stage facilitate weddings or company gatherings.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
Natural light pours in through the arched windows of Cara Mia Riverside Grill and reveals sweeping views of the Indian River as diners dig into linguine and calamari. In the kitchen, head chef Elizabeth Hanstein prepares house-made sauces from traditional Italian recipes and incorporates Mediterranean influences into dishes such as the chicken piccata, which finishes a mushroom-and-scallion chicken sautéed with a sherry wine sauce.