Head chef Scott Sauer oversees a rotating menu of inventive cuisine catered to discerning Fresnan tongues fluent in gourmet. The dinner menu raises the curtain with an appetizing aria of jalapeno-enhanced sweet-potato fries ($9) or calamari ($10) dotted with roasted sweet peppers. The feta-cheese and poppy-seed dressing of the strawberry and spinach salad ($12) likewise provides a sweet counterpart to savory evening entrees such as the osso bucco–style short ribs ($27), served with braised greens and polenta cake, and the Peruvian potato-crusted salmon ($27). Dining dates, meanwhile, can keep their busy hands doggy-bag-free for a romantic evening of casino implosions and roller-tango with light entrees such as the petite filet mignon ($26) and the crab cakes with house-made tartar sauce ($16). Before capping things off with a dessert of cinnamon-raisin bread pudding ($6) or crispy boysenberry pie ($5), be sure to take a scenic detour among Max's extensive list of wines by the bottle or glass, draft beers, and specialty martinis, including the Pretty Woman ($11), which blends Stolichnaya strawberry, orange juice, and strawberry puree with a champagne float and a lock of Julia Roberts's hair.
It might sound silly, but Richard Stockle was destined to cook prime rib. He had no intention of running a steakhouse in 1969, when he opened up what would ultimately become Richard's Prime Rib and Seafood. The plan was for a bar—cheap beers and maybe a couple of pool tables, which would sit unused until the game of billiards was invented in 1975. That didn't line up with the economic cards, so Richard added food, mainly steaks and fresh seafood. The restaurant took off and Richard purchased the other side of the building, expanding the restaurant's capacity to 115. New York steaks, lobster tails, and countless baked potatoes would mark the decades until Richard finally sold the restaurant in 2005.
But Richard Stockle couldn't stay away from the restaurant business. The new owner defaulted, and Richard regained the restaurant a few years later. The building had slipped into disrepair, so Richard and his team completely remodeled the place, adding curved booths and tasteful nude artwork. Richard's grandson Ben now serves as the restaurant's manager. And the chefs still cook the dishes that made Richard famous, as well as inventive items like “The Something Good,” a New York steak wrapped in a flour tortilla filled with melted cheese.
In 1985, a little drive-in burger joint called Rally's was born in Louisville, Kentucky. A year later, a similar drive-in burger joint called Checkers opened in Mobile, Alabama. After nearly a decade of competition between the more than 200 Rally's and Checkers franchises, the two merged in 1999. There are now more than 800 Rally's and Checkers double-drive-thru burger spots across the country.
At each location, patrons cruise through the drive-thru lanes or head to the walk-up window to request made-to-order burgers, creamy milkshakes, and, of course, Checkers and Rally's well-seasoned fries. In 2012, Checkers and Rally's CEO said that they sell more than 300,000 fry orders per day, which doesn't even include the 100,000 sent to Paul Bunyan's house.
For more than 15 years, By the Sea has been gifting guests with a menu of authentic Mediterranean-style vittles spiced up with a Caribbean flair. Office workers looking for a light lunch break after a hectic morning of dodging wrecking balls can order an elegantly esculent starter from By the Sea’s carte du jour, such as hummos ($5.95), tabbouli (a lemon- and olive-oil-doused dish of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions, and bulgar wheat, $5.95), or four falafels fried in corn oil ($4.95). After a bowl of black-bean soup ($3.50), put your best fork forward into a plate of lemon chicken ($11.95), sautéed in lemons, white wine, olive oil, and cream sauce. Otherwise, daredevil diners can sword swallow shish kebabs of marinated lamb ($13.95) or wrestle a charbroiled Cajun catfish ($11.95) for digestion rights. By the Sea's board of fare covers Mediterranean cultures both extant and extinct, including the Phoenician chicken ($10.95), the Middle Eastern shawerma ($9.95), and the Moroccan kafta ($11.95), a charbroiled stew of minced ground beef and lamb mixed with parsley, onions, and spices. To end your classic Mediterranean meal with less bloodshed than most classic Mediterranean plays, wash down slices of cheesecake ($4) or puddings of rice ($3) with a cup of coffee or tea ($1.50).
Frying fresh catfish, shrimp, and other once-seafaring fillets, Salaam Seafoods charms guests with a menu of southern-influenced fare. The Clovis culinary cabin serves lunch and dinner entrees, placing the spotlight on grilled or fried catfish, snapper, basa, tilapia, and salmon fish (starting at $4.95). At the fryers, bold, spicy catfish takes center stage, whether filleted into four-piece baskets ($6.95) or cut and deep-fried into nuggets of edible treasure ($4.95). Not to be out seasoned, jumbo prawns make their culinary mark on the captain's plate ($9.95), five shrimp backed by the sweet song of hush puppies or another of the 16 side options.
A traditional Irish pub with a robust menu, a full bar, and an outdoor beer garden, Groggs wages a tactical twin strike on hunger and thirst. Patrons can test the waters with Dublin hot wings ($7.95), cordon bleu balls ($3.95), or Irish chips ($1.95) before wildly cannonballing into the deep end of a hearty soup. Options such as the meaty bowl, jammed with cheesesteak filling, grilled pastrami, green onions, and cabbage ($10.95), and the bucket o’ chowder—clam chowder served with Irish chips ($8.95)—come in bread bowls. Named after an old Irish crime-fighting duo, the banger and spuds fights the injustice of hunger with two grilled sausages, whole potatoes, and a slab o’ garlic bread ($9.95), and the German bratwursts served on a French baguette celebrate delicious globalization ($8.95).