At Ace's Gourmet Paninis, culinary-school grad Chef Van presides over an unlikely marriage between the Italian-born panini and the flavors of Southern comfort fare. He presses only quality ingredients into his sandwiches, including three signature paninis loaded with chicken, beef brisket, or pulled pork slathered in house barbecue sauce. His menu also flaunts a separate breakfast section that highlights paninis and burritos stuffed with more eggs and meats than a vending machine for bodybuilders. His renditions of childhood favorites, such as peanut butter and jelly, even please pintsize palates. Patrons can settle in to surf free WiFi in the eatery or grab a takeout container to feast at home.:
Classic sandwiches and freshly grilled patties are your best bets at Big Star Burgers. The kitchen creates its namesake burger with a sizzling one-third pound beef patty, which can be doubled for a heartier meal or a lighter hand-weight at the gym. From there, chefs give each burger "the works," which consists of a smear of mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and onions.
From this classic burger recipe, they build a roster of other grilled favorites, such as the bacon cheeseburger and patty melt, with slices of cheese, scoops of chili, strips of bacon, and crispy shoestring onions. No matter the burger, it'll pair well with ice cream treats such as creamy milkshakes and bubbly floats.
Palio?s Pizza Caf? may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant?s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover?s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant?s commitment to quality doesn?t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
In 1941, Travis Dickey decided his barbecue was too good not to share, and he lit the fire in his inaugural pit to craft brisket and ham for hungry folks. Over the years, his menu grew and his sons took over and expanded the operation, but those first recipes remained, sauce and all.
The chefs at the Rowlett location still hickory smoke each tender piece of meat behind a brick serving counter, which clatters beneath plates of polish sausage and glasses of iced tea. Black-and-white photos bedeck walls of corrugated metal siding and hardwood walls, and powder-blue checkered tablecloths re-create the feeling of dining in a rustic farmhouse without all the hours spent trying to figure out what a cornucopia is for.
Amidst festive décor, the chefs of Dos Chavos’ Tex Mex Bar & Grill simmer and sauté meats and greens with Mexican spices to create a menu full of traditional and Tex-Mex creations. Orders of pescado al ajo bait diners' interest by swathing a tilapia fillet with a garlic-spiced sauce peppered with winning Lotto tickets. Diners can unlock the chili relleno's treasures by digging into a poblano pepper stuffed with shredded chicken, or pit three jumbo shrimp against chicken or beef during the surf 'n' turf's culinary dance-off. Supplementing meals, orders of salsa and large portions of guacamole provide dipping pools for chips and an impromptu cover-up for shy flour tortillas.
When Popeyes first opened in a New Orleans suburb in 1972, it wasn't exactly an instant hit. Known back then as Chicken on the Run, it experienced several months of lackluster sales. Not ready to give up, founder Alvin Copeland Sr. changed his recipe from traditional southern fried chicken to the native spicy New Orleans?style chicken. He then gave his eatery a similarly spicy new moniker: Popeyes, named after "Popeye" Doyle, the hardboiled detective in the hit movie The French Connection.
A little more than a decade later, the popular chain had opened its 500th restaurant, expanded to Canada, and added its fluffy buttermilk biscuits to the menu. It also introduced the country to crawfish, which?much like draping beads over everything from trees to the local alligator population?had been beloved by Louisianans for decades.
Nowadays, patrons can dig into the Louisiana favorites that made Popeyes famous, including breaded seafood, po' boys, and sides like mashed potatoes and red beans and rice. Of course, the main event is still spicy or mild chicken that marinates for 12 hours before being hand-battered, hand-breaded, and fried.