When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Dinner can be a hectic affair, and some families find that getting a filling, nutritious meal onto the table every night is sometimes exhausting. Knowing that dining out every night can quickly break the budget, entrepreneur Jay Cornwall decided to bridge the gap between takeout and at-home meals with a menu of freshly prepared pasta, ravioli, sauce, and entrees that can be fashioned into a full meal in less than 10 minutes. Every day, his chefs create a selection of 24 pastas, 15 sauces, and a signature entree, as well as mac 'n' cheese and lasagna. Chefs also curate a range of sides, bread, and wine, and even offer pairing advice on complementary flavors.
Mancora Cebicheria is the joint effort from a pair of restaurateurs eager to show to the world the colorful dishes and diverse flavors of Peruvian cuisine. Head chefs Marcelo and Michael cure morsels of seafood with a marinade called "leche de tigre"⎯a blend of pepper sauce, zesty lime juice, and sea salt along with a written warning against ever attempting to actually milk a tiger. Grilled steaks share plate space with sides of fried bananas, roasted garlic, and pasta covered in basil pesto. Along with fresh seafood, corn finds its way into dishes throughout the menu, whether garnishing ceviche plates with huge kernels of choclo or in glasses of purple corn chicha morada juice.
There's no one way to create the perfect hot dog, at least not at Fletch's. Sure, their cooks start with the basic Chicago-style toppings—mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickle, sport peppers, and celery salt—but that's only the foundation. From there, they can add a dollop of chili, sprinkle on cheese, or twist the hot dog like a balloon animal. They top beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie burger patties with your choice of condiments, and, upon customer request, they make cream puffs for dessert. Fletch's menu includes meals for dine-in, delivery, or catering.
The dough wizards at Papa John's create 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.
The cooks at Tenka Japanese Restaurant grill squid, deep-fry oysters, and assemble raw orders of sushi with the steady hands of a brain surgeon building a house of cards. Sushi rolls can grow around simple cores of tuna and cucumber or more piquant fillings like spicy mayonnaise, asparagus, or shrimp tempura. For even more robust flavor, the cooks skewer beef after first marinating it in soy sauce and sake, or deep-fry pork cutlets and add them to curry rice.