The traditional Filipino dish of crispy pata is nearly always "pure pork bliss," according to Saveur, but the version at Patio Filipino is a cut above: it's “the best I've found,” writer David Bolosan says. To create the dish, pork foreshanks are simmered, slathered with fish sauce, and then deep-fried for a crispy coating. It's a three-step process perfected by Patio Filipino's head chef, a Manila native with both Spanish and Filipina heritage. It's no wonder, then, that the kitchen incorporates ginger, miso, and other Filipino ingredients into their tapas menu. Diners can wash down these shareable dishes with one of the restaurant's own wines, or clack their empty plates together like castanets to accompany the painting of a flamenco dancer gracing the dining room.
The Famous Rib Shack pleases hungry bellies and the mouths that married them with a menu brimming with saucy, smoky meats and tasty fixings. Friendly staff members prepare each dish of lip-smacking barbecue the old-fashioned way, slow cooking slabs of pork ribs ($14.95 for a half; $26.99 for a full), beef short ribs ($29.95), and beef brisket ($15.95) to fall-off-the-bone tenderness over an open flame while reciting the pledge of allegiance in their best William Faulkner voice. Meat eaters unable to choose just one item from the bib-worthy bounty can combine two or three choices into a sauce-based smorgasbord that pairs the proteins with cornbread and a choice of mac 'n' cheese, poppy-seed coleslaw, or two other sides ($14.95–$19.95). Or, save some stomach space for a sweet and sticky dessert such as cobbler or sweet-potato pie ($3.95) to complement a plate full of savory vittles the way an elaborate pyrotechnics sequence complements a middle-school play.
"Steak house" is usually shorthand for fine dining that includes steak, but meat is truly the main event at Cleo's Brazilian Steak House. Modeled after a traditional Brazilian rodizio, the eatery spotlights more than 15 rotisserie meats, including sirloins seasoned in garlic or wrapped in bacon. Lamb, pork, chicken, and even grilled pineapple round out the rotisserie selection, which Cleo's team carves right at your table.
The buffet's salad fixings and other sides, such as rice and green beans, can accompany meals, as can beverages ranging from sangria to fresh juices. End Cleo's hearty feasts on a sweet note with desserts such as papaya cream spiked with cassis liqueur, a summertime treat more popular in Brazil than cookies shaped like Pelé.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.