While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. Led by executive chef Chris Peitersen, the seasoned kitchen staff blends fresh ingredients along with extra time to create high-quality, spiced Italian preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the spicy shrimp and chicken, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and drink menu.
In 1996, the first Phil's Philly Grill introduced its signature hot sandwiches to Dallas from a single, modestly sized kitchen nestled into a bustling Metroplex. Because its founders brought decades of experience to the business, their sandwiches' of sauteed veggies and meats pleased anyone who got their hands on them. Soon, the concept steadily grew to occupy more than a half-dozen locations around Texas.
Today, sandwichsmiths at seven locations serve up everything from lena, certified rib-eye steaks?onions, peppers, cheese, and mushrooms included?to the Texas bacon barbecue burger, which understandably includes bacon, barbecue sauce, and a strange resemblance to the state of Texas. Phil's certified grill experts bring 40 hours of training to prepare chicken breasts marinated with 17-ingredients and hand chop fresh vegetables and cheeses. An array of Philly sandwiches, grilled salads, gyros plates, and wraps round out the menu. The ownership's commitment to hard work, passion, and fine meats have also spawned franchising opportunities for those looking to launch their own little bit of Phil's.
The Penalty Box Sports Bar and Grill rewards rabid sports fans and their hungry companions with platefuls of familiar fried favorites alongside a nightly roster of festivities. Pre-game first pitches or State of the Union addresses with a basket of mild, hot, or raspberry chipotle wings ($10.79) and fried pickles ($5.29), before the main event: a half-pound all-beef burger ($6.99) with meat toppers such as avocado, bacon, and swiss cheese ($.50 each). Warm the bench with a crispy chicken-fried steak ($9.49) or a fried-shrimp basket ($8.49), both served up with Texas toast, a house salad, and fries. Monday-night munchers can storm the stage with a mouthful of potatoes on karaoke night, and Tuesday’s Texas hold 'em poker pleases card sharks and pathological liars. Live music on Saturday night and trivia on Wednesdays, plus weekly horseshoes contests and beer-pong tournaments, entertain during commercial breaks on the eatery’s sports-tuned flat-screen TVs.
At Morelia Mexican Grill, generations of the Arreola Family cook up recipes from their ancestral home in Morelia, Mexico, captivating diners with savory dishes of chicken, seafood, steak, and pork. The restaurants immerse guests in an atmosphere of Mexican art and culture, with stone pillars and friezes decorated in Mesoamrican-style carvings and colorful wall-sized Diego Rivera?style murals. The dishes that sparkle against that backdrop included the shrimp-stuffed avocado, Fajitas Romanas, and mixed grill plates of quail and steak.
After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
Vino 100 serves cheeses and imaginative pasta dishes in its cozy storefront, with live entertainment on Thursdays and Fridays. Start off a meal with a cheese plate, bedecked with one to four types of dairy ($9/one cheese, $20/four). Choose from brie, fontina, Brazos Valley–smoked gouda, and a Brazos Valley cheese of the month. Small plates such as the artichoke dip with crab and spinach ($12) or the goat cheese with raspberry-chipotle sauce ($6) whet appetites and fill bellies to half capacity. Send hunger packing with a stick and bindle by ordering a filling entree such as the truffle-oil mac 'n' cheese ($8), brimming with four italian cheeses, black-forest ham, egg noodles, and a dusting of smoked gruyere. Or try a savory shrimp-and-sausage cheesecake ($12), crowned with a crawfish rémoulade instead of traditional whipped cream and cookies. Polish off the meal with delectable dessert ($6 each), such as the s'mores panini, a combination of marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and Nutella, encased in a ciabatta bun and grilled to gooey goodness. Stay alert by downing an affogato, a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream topped with espresso, ensuring you never again fall asleep during an all-cymbal band recital.