The despair in Marlon Brando's cry of "Stellaaaa" is lost as the nine big-screen TVs are drowned out by the sights and sounds of confetti cannons, airborne toilet-paper streamers, and rainfalls of bubbles. During afternoon and dinner service, Ballyhoo Restaurant & Bar is tamer, dishing up a menu of classic American fare, including six burgers, more than 10 kinds of sandwiches and wraps, and six pizzas. At night, however, Ballyhoo is a haven for tomfoolery and shenanigans of all kinds.
Framed posters of classic Hollywood A-listers—including Elvis, Brando, and Hepburn—cover the dining-room walls at this movie-theater-themed eatery. Here the staff encourages patrons to indulge in the fun instead of silencing raucous laughter and insisting diners behave themselves or risk finding an alka seltzer under their pillow from the bar fairy. From behind a marble countertop, bartenders dole out a range of boozy beverages while well-loved movies flicker across nine flat-screen TVs. Diners can pick reasonable meals off the menu, or set themselves up for The Challenge—a dinner plate packing four 8-ounce burgers layered in four types of cheese as well as half a pound of bacon and two onion rings. To win half off their final bill (not valid with this Groupon), challengers are allotted 20 minutes to gobble the whole dish while sticking their tongues out at the food gods.
At It’s a Better Burger, staff focus on one thing: how to make the tastiest creations ever to fill slices of bread. Their entire menu can be broken into three distinct sandwich categories, featuring their gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches, and specialty sandwiches, all of which showcase their love of this gastronomic genre. Burgers come in three sizes or with two patties, and can be topped with everything from barbeque sauce, pulled pork, and haystack onions to garlic mushrooms and sweet peppers. Their chicken sandwiches transfer the flavors of the burgers to a grilled or crispy chicken breast, while the rest of the menu is dedicated to classics such as the BLT and unique versions such as the chipotle salmon burger. They offer a select menu of diner fare with their burgers, pairing dishes with fresh fries, fried corn on the cob, hand-dipped milkshakes, and their famous cheesecake.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger?the Whopper sandwich?consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
The composed, yet inviting presentation of Moto Sushi's maki and nigiri hints at the chefs' dedication to cleanly fused flavors. Behind the sushi bar, chefs roll more than 50 different maki with inventive ingredients–sweet-chili sauce, fried jalapeños, and fajita peppers, among others–before arranging them into arrow-straight lines or scale maps of the Tokyo subway system. Traditional Japanese entrees, including marinated chicken teriyaki and tempura-fried vegetables, round out the menu.
Suspended from the ceiling, cylindrical-pendant lamps light the sage-green sushi bar and cast a yellow glow through wire shades that hang above horseshoe-shaped booths.
Drawing on his Thai heritage and more than 20 years of experience behind the grill, Executive Chef Manop Vasant showcases the flavors and traditions of Southeast Asia while sizzling up morsels of meat and veggies behind tableside hibachi grills. Chefs showboat as they slice, dice, and sizzle up patrons' meals and incriminating photographs across the hot iron griddles. Kitchen cooks whip up rice noodles and curry, and sushi chefs coil thin, sashimi-style slices of tuna, avocado, and cucumber in edible rice and seaweed cylinders.
Banzai the Sushi Place serves up fresh, fast, and affordable sushi in a casual atmosphere. Bright orange walls and metal dinettes greet mouths and project just the right amount of light to view the extensive menu. Kick-start your taste buds with miso soup ($1.49) or sweet-and-spicy chicken wings ($4.99). All rolls are made-to-order, guaranteeing fresh flavors and a live show. California rolls ($6.99) satisfy coast to coast, and the deep-fried soft shell crab roll ($8.99) is made with real crabmeat. For even more variety, try out red snapper ($2.59) or tuna ($2.99) nigiri, or settle in with a teriyaki plate ($5.99–$7.99), served with steamed rice and edamame and your choice of chicken, beef, or seafood.