Though the Waldo family?proprietors of The Grill Hut?specializes in all things barbecue, chicken and tri-trip remain their two points of pride. Before they?re tossed in the smoker, both meats are marinated and seasoned with a secret recipe known only by the Waldos and a spy stuck behind the family?s refrigerator. Next, the meats are piled onto platters and sandwiches such as the Carnivore, a chicken and tri-tip double-header served on Pyrenees sourdough bread grilled with garlic butter. During breakfast, tri-tip even works its way into three-egg omelets alongside cheese, beans, and salsa.
Besides these main meats, the Waldo clan crafts barbecued favorites such as hot-links sandwiches and baby back ribs served atop housemade angel hair pasta. From beans to corn on the cob, The Grill Hut?s seven sides are likewise housemade.
Since the first Logan's Roadhouse opened in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991, the restaurant has grown to more than 200 locations, bringing its grilled roadhouse food as far west as California. At each location, the floors of which are typically covered in shells from the buckets of peanuts at each table, eaters can carve into top sirloin and pull apart baby back ribs that have been slow roasting for eight hours. The grilled grub is complemented by beers, cocktails, sweet teas, and sides, such as baked potatoes, coleslaw, and mac 'n' cheese.
Committed to providing fresh pours, the winetenders of Gather Wine Bar uncork only 25 to 35 of their carefully curated central-coast wines each week. Knowledgeable staff can recommend a bottle for customers to pair with charcuterie plates, flatbread pizzas, and gourmet pub snacks such as bacon-wrapped dates. Alternatively, themed wine flights can provide a cross section of a single varietal or eclectic tastes from an array of vines. Live music acts and singles events create an upbeat atmosphere on many nights, and catered parties can gather small groups around a fire pit or feed 100 or more people with unlimited appetizers from the bar.
Farm-to-table dining is a way of life at Ojai Deer Lodge. Steaks come from cows raised in wide-open pastures just 15 miles away at Watkins Cattle Company. Seasonal, organic fruits and veggies from local farms add flavor to most dishes on the menu, whose creators eschew corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and GMOs. As a finishing touch to each meal, the staff also serves 30 regional wines and a selection of locally brewed craft beers.
Ojai Deer Lodge has been around since 1932, when it was a combination gas station and grocery store. The lodge has changed a lot since then, but it still nods to its roots with displays of old-timey tobacco cans and a wood-burning stove. In the evenings, the space transforms into a live music venue that attracts local country and rock bands.
In 1967, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue began as a small drive-thru diner in Honolulu. Over the next several decades, the eatery expanded to more than 175 franchise locations across its home state and the continental United States. Though they have maintained their original base of operations and continue to draw on its local inspirations, L&L's owners take pride in introducing new communities to their take on traditional island comfort fare. Dishes such as fried chicken katsu, shredded kalua pork, and blends of mixed Hawaiian-style barbecue draw from Asian and American culinary influences, and ice-cold drinks pay homage to the frozen strait that first brought explores from Hawaii to the mainland.
The servers at Chuy's Mesquite Broiler tap eight draft brews and mix up their signature margaritas to temper the heat of their southwestern and Mexican fare. After diners visit the complimentary chips-and-salsa bar, they can settle in and consider the menu's options, which include mesquite-broiled tri-tip tucked into jumbo burritos, half-pound Angus barbecue bacon burgers piled with onion strings, and california tacos with mesquite chicken and avocado.
Every Sunday at Chuy's Mesquite Broiler, the HD flat-screen TVs broadcast whichever NFL games and razor commercials are playing. Daily specials mix up the menu, and every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., bartenders keep busy mixing pitchers of margaritas and other happy-hour favorites. Diners can admire colorful airbrushed artwork and take kids to play arcade games inside or head out to the patio for open-air dining.