Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
The pit master at World Bar-B-Que works hard slow-cooking Carolina-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis–style pork ribs, imbuing each meat with distinctive barbecue bark and deep, smoky flavors. After the cuts have smoked for 6–15 hours, diners take over with finishing touches, adorning their choice of meats with sauces such as sweet-and-spicy blackberry habanero and classic sides such as potato salad and baked beans. They can also forge everything from smoked and beer-soaked burgers to authentic Cuban sandwiches.
On certain nights, patrons can finish off meaty cuts and showcase their singing chops with open-mic and karaoke sessions. The generous eatery also sets aside one day a week for a "World Invasion"—a chance for local groups, charitable organizations, or extraterrestrial barbecue-reconnaissance parties to take over the restaurant and receive a portion of the evening's sales.
Frequent diners at Qdoba come for the eatery’s signature flavors, but they may not know how far the staff travels to obtain them. Qdoba’s staff visits various parts of Mexico on a regular basis in search of flavor combinations that later enhance the shop’s burritos, quesadillas, and taco salads. Among these blends are ancho-chili barbecue, gumbo accented with cilantro rice, and the three-cheese queso, a creation that took 47 tries to perfect. Along with sought-after flavors, Qdoba’s staff members pride themselves on their painstaking preparation of fresh ingredients, from fire-roasted tomatoes to mouth-watering poblano peppers.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
At The Butter Cafe, every dish that chefs create maintains their commitment to sustainable cooking and eating, from the fluffy, golden pancakes topped with organic sweet-cream butter to the omelets made with locally sourced, free-range eggs. This dedication to sustainability extends to ensure respect for animals and workers. Along with their all-day breakfast, which includes gluten-free and vegan options, lunch and dinner caters to meat lovers and vegans alike with hearty meatloaf served along with vegan hot dogs and spaghetti.
Taking its name from the symbolic plant of Lebanon, Cedarland Bakery & Restaurant excites palates with the sweet and savory delicacies from the Levant. Fluffy loaves of pita conceal treasures of crunchy-chewy falafel and tender chicken shawarma, and meat- and spinach-filled pastries challenge apple pie for its coveted spot in the American psyche. A handsome mural of rustic Mediterranean scenery fills the space, complementing relaxing hookah sessions or feasts of baklava, hummus, and baked kibbeh.