El Amigo Mexicano understands that cravings for tacos, burritos, or chorizo can strike at any time. That’s why the restaurant fills its menu with breakfast selections alongside lunch and dinner options and stays open late. The eatery greets early risers with eggs scrambled with chorizo, smothered in red sauce, or delicately cocooned inside a tortilla. Lunch and dinner options sate cravings with burritos topped with melted cheese or gordita pockets filled with beans, avocado, and the diner’s choice of meat. Combination and à la carte options adjust platings to appeal to light or hearty appetites.
Since 1941, the Dickey family has been churning out Texas-style barbecue and tasty family style sandwiches, sides, salads, and baked taters. Dickey’s lets customers choose from a menu of USDA Prime meats—all cooked slowly to smoky perfection over a hot hickory fire pit every night—including southern pulled pork, tender turkey breast, and Virginia-style ham. Start with some sliced beef brisket on the big barbecue sandwich ($5) served with pickles, onions, and Dickey's famous sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce, which took three years, two fist fights, and one small kitchen fire to develop. Or go with the quarter plate, a quarter pound of your favorite meat served with two sides and a roll ($7). Sides include waffle-iron fries, barbecue beans, original potato salad, and baked-potato casserole ($1.50 each when purchased separately). Diners with more than one mouth to feed can play hot potato with a giant stuffed baker ($4) before stuffing their head's two other mouths with the picnic pack, which includes a pound of meat, two pintsize sides, four rolls, and barbecue sauce ($20).
The burger artisans at Smashmouth Burgers & Pizza fire a fresh array of American fare from their fully stocked menu and carefully craft a selection of recipes each week. Celebrate the right to bear burgers with a plethora of 2-ounce Smash burgers, each bolstering a bouquet of caramelized onions, pickles, and bistro sauce ($0.99), or with a Monster Smash cheeseburger meal, which balances lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, pickles, and bistro sauce on a precarious half-pound patty of seasoned ground beef ($8.99). In addition to harvesting fresh burgers from its private orchard each morning, Smashmouth’s staff also designs submarine sandwiches and signature pizzas. Patrons can sink incisors into the chorizo-and-jalapeño-laden South of the Border pizza ($14.99–$17.99), or the Alfredo pie, which orchestrates a meeting of the minds among spinach, mushroom, and alfredo ($14.99–$17.99), wherein the ingredients discuss creating an edible replica of Michelangelo's Last Judgment.
From omelets and waffles to burgers and pasta, Mante’s offers a hearty meal for every time of the day. Guests can order linguine alfredo, steak and eggs, and bacon cheeseburgers from the menu or venture to the home-style buffet and forage through options like their cavemen predecessors. Kids, meanwhile, get their fill with chicken tenders and homemade mac and cheese, all in preparation for decadent desserts, such as apple pie or dessert nachos smothered with chocolate and strawberry sauces, powdered sugar, and blueberry pie filling.
Giuseppe "Joe" Scalzo had to turn down his first opportunity to manage a restaurant, a small trattoria in Calabria he'd been working in as he attended school. He had spent his entire professional career working in Tuscan eateries and wanted the job, but his educational path led him to Chicago's Loyola University in pursuit of a business degree. It didn't take him long to realize that the thing he missed most about home was working in a restaurant. With his newly acquired business acumen, he began his foray into opening Italian restaurants: first Piazza Bella, then Via Carducci, and finally his most recent labor of love, Ciao Bella Ristorante.
The kitchen is nestled behind a black-and-white photographic mural, which hints at the sunshine that sparkles along the Mediterranean coastline. Greenery flanks the piece, providing contrast along with the warm, saturated red walls painted with real marinara sauce. As guests revel under dim lighting amid the elegant atmosphere, plates of carefully crafted Italian cuisine arrive at tables alongside traditional thin-crust pizza. The restaurant recently expanded its bar and lounge areas and added a new banquet area for private parties that can seat up to 70. Joe's personal favorite pie is the quattro stagioni, for its savory blend of prosciutto, artichokes, and black olives.
At Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant's two locations, familiar enchiladas and corn tamales draped in rich chili sauces pour from the kitchen on rainbow-colored fiesta ware, which also delivers house specialties such as prawns sautéed with dungeness crab and vegetables and Cancun tacos filled with halibut and pico de gallo. Burgers and chicken strips provide a similarly hearty alternative to deep-fried chimichangas packed with beef, chicken, or pork chile verde, which is also available by the bowlful. The cantina's design adds to a festive atmosphere, its tangerine walls painted to resemble an arcade overlooking the sea and its carved, wooden chairs painted to resemble the hollowed-out burritos that carried the conquistadors across it.