Connected by an asphalt web of highways, state roads, and thoroughfares, blocky yellow signs gleam nonstop, casting a dandelion glow from the words “Waffle House.” The booths at the eateries fill 24 hours each day with the aromas of sizzling pork chops, Jimmy Dean sausage, and endless mugs of coffee. Line cooks brown shredded potatoes on a grill as waiters shout back in a language all their own for hash browns “smothered,” “covered,” or “topped”—served with onions, cheese, or chili, respectively. Angus burgers and steak melts share space on the rippling-hot surface at all times of day, allowing tired drivers to stop for food when they are on a long journey or just listening to an 11-hour drum solo on the radio. The first Waffle House switched on its lights in 1955, and some menu items still bear the names of Waffle House staff of the past, including Bert's chili from Dallas and Alice's iced tea.
Colonel Eure opened his first pizza restaurant in 1964 and when time came to open another franchise five years later, he named it Gatti's Pizza in honor of his wife's maiden name. The Gatti's Pizza empire steadily expanded over the next four decades, thanks in part to a commitment to high-quality ingredients such as real cheese, yeast-risen dough made fresh daily, and a 16-ingredient secret sauce protected by Swiss bankers. Today, chefs prepare specialty pies such as the barbecue chicken and bacon double cheeseburger pizza and bake custom creations from a choice of 17 toppings and three crust options. Many Gatti's locations boast a dining room complete with a big-screen TV, and some include a Veggie Tales room, a sports room, and a game room.
The Spaghetti Shop's chefs pair the long noodles with classic toppings, including marinara and meatballs, as well as with more unique toppings, including barbecue sauce. They also pop the noodles in the oven for gooey spaghetti bakes. Whatever spaghetti or specialty pasta dish patrons order at the restaurant, they can sop up the accompanying sauce with unlimited pieces of housemade garlic bread.
The chefs also send out their pasta dishes, garlic bread, and gourmet fudge brownies to weddings or corporate and private events, and they offer takeout meals perfect for a family dinner that's quick and tasty, unlike a partially defrosted bag of frozen peas.
Built at the turn of the 19th century with stone bought from Abraham Lincoln’s father and situated on 650 acres of pristine woodland, this antique-filled former mill charms diners with a quaint atmosphere and a menu of comforting cuisine. For lunch, feast on the famously fulfilling fried chicken, double breaded and served with a cream gravy ($6.99), or partake in the popular Kentucky Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey-and-ham sandwich smothered in rich mornay sauce, topped with tomato and bacon and broiled to a scrumptious sizzle ($8.99).
Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
Situated across from Indiana's former state capitol building, within walking distance of many unique shops, antique malls, and historic sites, Magdalena's is the perfect spot to relax and unwind while sampling savory café fare and sipping delicious java drinks. Comprised of both a full-service eatery and coffeehouse, Magdalena's boasts an extensive lunch, dinner, and drink menu. Warm up taste engines with grilled portabella mushrooms, marinated in pesto, olive oil, and garlic and topped with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and melted swiss ($8.99). Once primed, try one of Magdalena's signature sandwiches and burgers, such as the cranberry walnut chicken salad croissant ($8.99) or the Minnesota melt, a grilled burger buried in a sautéed avalanche of onion, monterey-jack cheese, and sliced jalapenos ($7.99). Dig incisor shovels into the prime-rib pasta with asparagus ($16.99), or get stuck in the greenatational pull of an herbivore-friendly dish, such as the creamy vegetable lasagna ($12.99). Arid maws can find aqueous reprive at Magdalena's Café on the Square, a coffeehouse serving up freshly brewed coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks made from 100% locally roasted Arabica coffee beans. Grab a hot, iced, or frozen brew and settle in at one of the café's cozy leather sofas, or pod-people watch on the outdoor patio, which overlooks the town square.