Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Gianmarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. His company has franchise locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
In 1956, residents of North Little Rock began catching mouthwatering whiffs of smoked ribs and chopped pork. Those aromas emanated from a spot called Lindsey's Bar-B-Q. Stepping inside, they found the source: a pit master named D.L. Lindsey Sr. Today, his son Donnie Lindsey II and his wife Eleanor carries on the family tradition at Lindsey's Hospitality House, located just a block away from his father's former eatery.
Lindsey II prepares many of the same specialties his dad served, including smoked chicken and racks of ribs paired with sides, such as glazed carrots and black-eyed peas. Patrons can relax in the dining room or arrange a catered feast in the restaurant's banquet room, which comfortably seats more than 200 people.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
Over the last three decades, Charley’s has shuffled up standard decks of carbs in a fresh, innovative fashion. Though the soul of Charley’s spawns from the beefy abyss of the signature cheesesteak sandwiches ($4.99–$7.99), the entire menu is flavorfully filled to capacity with delicious grilled combinations. The chicken bacon club with provolone and all the fixins ($5.19–$7.59) is quaint for a stomach sublet, while the Italian deli deluxe carnivorously conquers with a bed of pepperoni, ham, turkey, provolone, and generous dustings of Italian seasoning ($5.19–$7.69). Diners can load their gastronomic cargo-carriers with a combo meal, complete with Charley's famously crisp fries, or ascend a mountain of abominably coated fries featuring cheddar, ranch, and bacon ($2.99), the ideal defense against yetis, yeti-sized hungers, and jitters felt during first dates with yetis.
Green, leafy bamboo stalks reach from the floor to the ceiling at Lemongrass Asian Bistro, lining a bright yellow wall that contrasts from hanging red lamps. Therein, the wait staff ferries about artfully plated dishes, such as pineapple-marinated chicken served with bell peppers in half of a hollowed-out pineapple. Red and green curries coat servings of duck, beef, pork, chicken, or tofu, and seafood shines in jumbo shrimp flash-fried and topped with a caramelized cheese sauce.
Tantalizing spices and curries carom between high-quality meats and vegetable morsels springing from all three pages of Taste of India's encyclopedic Middle Eastern menu. Eclectic, vibrant Indian dishes, including chicken and fish tikka, cook to juicy perfection amid the flames of a clay tandoor oven hot enough to inspire envy in dragon's breath. Alternatively, duos can stop to sniff shifting aromas as they mosey through a labyrinthine buffet of Indian victuals that winds, like a brick road dyed yellow with turmeric, past the eatery's full bar and scenic Middle Eastern–inspired décor.