Hearty recipes perfected at CheeZies Pizza's Tulsa headquarters bake into golden crusts across more than 15 locations in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and throughout its home state. A simple menu of signature dishes fills plates with hot and barbecued wings, jumbo calzones glistening with garlic butter, and breadsticks dappled with savory cheese or sweet sprinkles of cinnamon. Spangles of meat and vegetables emulate the flavors of savory tacos and tropical treats atop specialty pizzas, and customizable pies arrange patron-chosen ingredients to satisfy every palate and pepperoni feng shui principle.
Since 1982, the pie architects at Simple Simon's Pizza have assembled casual Italian and American fare at 240 locations scattered across 10 states. Fresh veggies, quality meats, and blankets of cheese spread atop pizzas and fortify the golden-brown walls of Calizones. Breadsticks sheathed in even more cheese accessorize meals, and a smattering of mild-to-spicy wings helps to separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the girls from the boys if they get too rowdy at coed canoe camp.
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
What’s your most popular menu item?
What kind of training or expertise do you have?
My husband and I acquired La Boca Loca in January of 2013. My husband has 10 years of restaurant management experience. I have worked in restaurants for about ten years, as well, in such chains as Outback Steakhouse and Chili’s.
Tell us a little about your chef.
The menu was crafted by my husband, who grew up in South Mississippi. Instead of your typical Mexican restaurant, we serve what we refer to as fusion tacos. The tacos blend my husband’s Southern roots with his love for Cajun cooking. Learning from his grandmother, my husband has been cooking great food since he was a boy.
Does he use any family recipes?
Everything is a family recipe of one kind or another. From the marinade for the steak to the baja sauce everyone loves, everything comes from recipes that we have been testing for years. Again, my husband developed most of the recipes and we will be adding new items weekly. For example, coming [soon] is a “po' boy” style shrimp taco. The batter for the shrimp is an old family recipe and the baja sauce is our own tasty concoction.
Do you use any local, organic, or specialty ingredients?
As best we can, we try to buy locally. We never pre-cook anything and everything served in our restaurant–besides the black beans that take seven hours to cook–is made to order. With regard to the black beans, I should note that they are unique. They are cooked … in a blend of tomatoes, Cajun spice, and other secret ingredients my husband learned from his family’s Cajun roots.
A reservation at du jour is more than just an intimate meal with friends. A rotating mix of house and guest chefs work in the kitchen crafting four to eight courses with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, all while fielding questions from rows of diners watching their every move. Guests indulge their culinary interests with du jour's curriculum of interactive and observational lessons.
Hands-on cooking sessions allow students to practice basic kitchen techniques, teaching them how to whisk together classic sauces, make their own soft cheeses, and add the perfect amount of heat to Cajun dishes. Demonstration classes, on the other hand, allow the attendees to sit at the kitchen's bar and watch while a chef explains how to cook with garden-fresh herbs or pair beers with football teams. These observational classes end with at least a four-course meal and can include recipes to take home or wine pairings to enjoy with the entrees.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. The menu was designed by executive chef Chris Peitersen, and each location executes it by blending fresh ingredients with extra time to create high-quality preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the all-natural beef tuscan ribeye, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon-basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired with any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and cocktail menu.