When Roula Karahalios came to the United States from the Greek island of Crete, she brought with her a rolodex of recipes that she now uses in the kitchen at Roula’s Cafe. Roula and her son Nectarios skewer chicken souvlaki and slice lamb for gyros. An array of meats, cheeses, and veggies as well as marble rye bread and croissants come together in custom deli sandwiches. Patrons also get to choose what fillings go into omelets and breakfast sandwiches, but not whether John Goodman plays them in a made-for-TV movie. Inside the café, a painted owl overlooks blue-topped tables from the branch of an oversized tree mural on one wall, and black-and-white checkered flooring gives the eatery the vibe of an old-timey diner.
Lenny’s Sub Shop opened in suburban Memphis in 1998 with a simple mission: to bring authentic philly cheesesteaks to the south. The hot sandwich’s swiss cheese, grilled onions, and tasty beef drew in so many hungry patrons that the owners were able to open several locations nationwide. Today, they continue to dole out their signature philly as well as several other hot and cold subs topped with chicken salad, meatballs, roast beef, and turkey. The staff slices sandwich fillings fresh with each order, piling a half pound of meat and cheese on regular-size subs and a full pound onto large subs.
At Mo’s Place, diners dig into timeless American dishes and tear apart smoky barbecue fare on the weekends. The breakfast rib-eye steak with eggs and hash browns fills bellies for the day ahead, and the lunchtime double BLT sports three pieces of toast, six strips of bacon, and more tomatoes than the home garden of a vegetable archivist. On Friday and Saturday nights, the eatery stays open late to serve smoked meats, barbecue sandwiches, and hot wings.
Nitrates and phosphates have no place at Grilla Bites. As a former organic farmer, Fred Marken founded Grilla Bites to serve and support his community with natural foods from local farmers. Free of hormones, growth stimulants, and other additives, his cornerstone all-natural sandwiches include chicken breast smothered in chipotle aioli and turkey layered atop avocado and soy bacon. The soy bacon strips also top burgers, which come with four patty options: veggie, organic tempeh, natural beef, and local, grass-fed bison. Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options abound, including curried tofu sandwiches, a salad bar rife with locally grown fixings, and cheese quesadillas. To wash down organic feasts, the staff serves up organic juices, smoothies, and coffees.
The potation crafters at Beans & Brews Coffee House whip up hot and cold beverages from perk-proffering coffee beans, relaxing tea leaves, and sweet decaf alternatives. Hot coffee drinks, such as the cappuccino ($3.60 for 12 oz.) or eye-opener brew ($2.80 for 12 oz.) gently jolt the brain awake with mountain-roasted goodness, and the dulcet notes of iced chai ($4.10 for 16 oz.) and B&B frappes ($4.05 for 16 oz.) cool off summer-scorched palates with their sweet, icy taste. Roasters get the most out of each coffee bean with Beans & Brews’ trademark high-altitude roasting, which imparts each batch of grounds with a smooth flavor that, like an angst-riddled teddy bear, maintains a high level of complexity.