When James Hughes, Steven Ramsey, and Matthew Connors moved to Florida together, they fished and lounged on the beach all day and worked at restaurants and bars all night. After returning to the Carolinas, the trio opened Sharkey’s Place to capture the spirit of their favorite beachside pastime and the infectious energy of the area’s bustling nightlife. The private chef for the Masters golf tournament for five years, executive chef Steven steams, grills, and fries some of the ocean’s tastiest catches, including shrimp, oysters, crab, and fish. His menu also unfolds with crab-cake sandwiches, 10-ounce rib-eye steaks, and gator bites most popular with vengeful pirates with hooks for hands.
A second-place-award winner in the 2011 National Bartending Competition, Matthew manages a full stock of liquor that washes down each bite. Diners can dig in at the outdoor seating area or in the spacious 125-seat dining room, which evokes an oceanic feel with a large mural of octopi, sharks, fish, and a sunbathing Poseidon. Along with their fresh seafood, Sharkey's Place entices guests with live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Mansour Zand, owner of Willow Creek Inn, has transformed an early 20th-century farmhouse into a venue for fine dining. He's facilitated this change through an internationally inspired approach to cooking as well as design. Using fresh produce and herbs from his own garden, he composes plates of European-style chicken, fish, and beef. This ever-changing cuisine is most often served in the formal dining room, which is adorned with lace drapes and antique furniture, or at the intimate chef's table, where groups of up to 16 can take in views of the countryside and watch the chef prepare the meal. Larger parties, meanwhile, take root on the open-air terrace or in the garden pavilion.
This sunlit, primarily New York–inspired eatery is infused with southern hospitality, serving up fresh, savory cuisine ideal for casual lunchers and geographically torn taste buds. Soups rotate daily, starting the week with broccoli and cheese and concluding with Friday's creamy potato ($2.98 for a small, $3.95 for a large). Gold-rushing appetites can hop aboard the California panini, a bread wagon packed full of turkey, spinach, cheddar cheese, and avocado ($4.25 for a half, $6.50 for a whole), and New York–deli purists can pledge allegiance to a Reuben, a trusted committee of corn-beef, sauerkraut, swiss-cheese, and thousand-island-dressing dreams standing firmly on a foundation of pumpernickel ($6.75). Add a side salad, such as the verdant garden salad ($2.95) or the sweet spring salad ($3.95), to grant green Jell-O a natural friend on your personal food pyramid.
When HoneyBaked Ham was just a single shop in Michigan more than 40 years ago, it was run under the careful eye of its founder, Harry J. Hoenselaar. He handpicked every bone-in ham that he was going to sell in stores and carefully cured each in a secret marinade recipe. He then slow-smoked the ham over a custom blend of wood chips. Hoenselaar even built and patented a machine that spiral-cut the meat into almost perfectly even slices and re-creations of M.A.S.H. characters. But what really stuck with people was his glaze—a proprietary recipe that encased each ham with a sweet, crunchy finish.
Though Harry's shop has since grown into a nationally recognized brand with more than 400 stores, that attention to detail hasn’t been lost. His grandchildren now oversee the company, and they have maintained that same process of hand-selecting hams and smoking them for up to 24 hours before they’re spiral-cut and glazed. Many of the stores also have a cafe-style counter, where patrons can pick up fresh sandwiches layered with roast beef, smoked turkey breast, chicken salad, and of course, honey-glazed ham.
At Players Casino Sports Bar, customers can chow down on tasty bar favorites as they play blackjack, keno, and deuces wild machines for real cash. The kitchen serves up bar favorites such as bacon-cheddar tots, pizza, and crab cakes, and dozens of flat-screen TVs occupy the walls and flood the airwaves with professional sports broadcasts.
Ben & Jerry’s shops offer a variety of frozen concoctions, from milkshakes, coffee drinks, and smoothies to waffle-cone sundaes and brownie and cookie sundaes featuring baked goods from David’s Cookies. Spoon the cuddly depths of Ben & Jerry’s famous original flavors, such as Cherry Garcia, Imagine Whirled Peace, Triple Caramel Chunk, Chunky Monkey, Cheesecake Brownie, Milk & Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Crème Brûlée, New York Super Fudge Chunk, and more. Request a solo scoop ($2.93), duet of flavors ($3.89), or frosty, ice-cream Cerberus ($4.81). Scoopers are also trained to balance flavors atop waffle cones, making them slightly less impressive than show seals balancing waffle cones atop their noses ($1 extra).