Ralph's Market expands on the family legacy started by the original father-son team who opened their first store in 1984. The staff maintains the store's independence as it branches out to serve multiple locations around the region.
The aromas of traditional king cakes and seasonal floral arrangements welcome visitors to each store, where carts weave through rows of vibrant fruits and veggies. In the meat department, butchers slice Ralph's market premium-aged special reserve steaks and wrap up fish fresher than a pickup line stored in tupperware.
At Rocco's New Orleans Style Poboys & Cafe, chef Troy Moreau channels Big Easy culinary traditions into a menu rife with po boys and Cajun dishes. Each po boy begins with classic french bread that, like a spit-roasted marshmallow Peep, has a crisp crust and a light, airy interior. The roast-beef po boy drips with homemade brown gravy ($9.49 for a whole), and the frito's Cajun-spiced fried-chicken po boy ($8.99 for a whole) brims with piquant flavors. In keeping with tradition, chefs dress all po boys with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles. Chicken-and-sausage gumbo ($3.99 for a cup) and a basket of crispy fried shrimp quell seafood cravings in tandem with fries and hush puppies ($9.99). The eatery's TVs light up with high-octane sporting events or adrenaline-pumping home-shopping programs as fans sip Miller Lite and Killian's brews.
Kamal’s Kafe strives to replicate the feel of a Mediterranean eatery with its burnt orange walls, spacious dining area, and menu of herb- and spice-infused Lebanese cuisine. The cooks shave beef and lamb off revolving gyro cones before loading the lean slices into pita bread along with dabs of tahini sauce. At the grills, they roast tilapia and shrimp kebabs and broil marinated chicken in fragrant wine sauce. They can also load platters with such vegetarian classics as hummus and homemade falafel.
Although the dining room houses more than 10 tables draped with blue-green vinyl tablecloths, Kamal’s Kafe can also seat guests outdoors on its covered patio. The patio’s ceiling fans help to ward off territorial helicopters and circulate fresh air throughout the space.
Rough wood walls and exposed brick-and mortar accents frame wood-topped tables at Sante Fe Cattle Company, lending it the look of an Old West ranch or corner saloon. Behind walls covered with western movie posters and cowboy portraits, the kitchen staff cuts steaks by hand, commands yeast rolls to rise, and builds sauces from scratch instead of melting them from freeze-dried blocks. The kitchen follows precise family recipes to grace tabletops with a menu of southern-style favorites, such as hickory-smoked ribs, chicken-fried steak, and fried catfish fillets. Live music fills the room on certain nights, and mist fans on the outdoor patio cool people off after a long day on the range or singing about spending the days on one.
Generations of Lachaussees have lovingly prepared Cajun meals from family recipes, using succulent cuts of game and traditional meats. For almost two decades, Chris Lachaussee has carried on the family tradition with a full menu of spice-laden, fully cooked meats that are ready to be heated and served. Chris and his staff craft the specialty meats and homestyle sides every day, ensuring that delectable portions of stuffed quail, pork tenderloin stuffed with cream cheese and bacon-wrapped jalapeños, and seafood gumbo arrive at patrons’ tables fresher than a ripe banana’s newest dance moves.
If the wooden tables that stretch across Country Kitchen’s dining room were any less sturdy, they would buckle under the weight of the sizzling platters of Southern fare that chefs trot out for unlimited buffets. Old-time recipes of fried and baked chicken vie for attention alongside a menu of specialties that rotate daily; the weekend’s seafood gumbo and fried catfish give way to succulent barbecued sausages that can spice up any Monday. Southern cuisine is known for its show-stealing sides and desserts, and Country Kitchen delivers in spades on both counts. Fried hush puppies and vegetable dishes refuse to take a backseat to their main-course counterparts, and a dessert bar exudes nostalgia with heaping servings of bread pudding, peach cobbler, and ice cream. Between bites, guests seated under cheerful framed artworks or beside a colorful rooster statue can reminisce about childhoods spent wrestling catfish or plucking ripe morsels of corn bread fresh from the vine.