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.
Sandwich lovers at Submarine House share juicy East Coast–style delicacies, slinging out crowd-pleasing ultra-stacked cheesesteaks and toasted deli subs. A staple of the shop, the cheesesteak packs grilled steak with enough protein to beef up Gumby and tops it with melted cheese and a sauce of mayonnaise, vinegar dressing, and hot-pepper relish ($5.59 for an 8"). Extend sandwiches mouthward with upgrades such as extra meat and cheese, mushrooms, or Italian-ized steaks slathered with marinara and pepperoni ($5.79+ for an 8"). Another NYC-inspired lunch, the regular sub slices salami onto a baked Italian bun ($4.99 for an 8"), and fresh deli sandwiches pep up turkey, ham, or veggies with a kick of house-made sauce ($4.99+ for an 8"). A selection of crispy pizzas ($6.79+), spicy wings ($6.99 for 8), and gyros ($5.19+) round out the shop’s sandwich-dominated menu, just as a strobe light rounds out a strong State of the Union speech.
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 Winans family has been making lives a little sweeter for more than a century. During the Great Depression, townspeople would flock to the family’s bakery in Piqua with their sugar rations. Owner Wayne Winans would take that sugar and turn it into freshly baked cookies—a small pick-me-up at a time when even small pick-me-ups were a luxury. Years later, Wayne’s sons, Max and Dick, carried the family torch into the 1960s, when the first Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffees was born.
Today, the Winans family continues to do what it does best at three Ohio locations. All of the business’s chocolates are handmade, with no preservatives or fillers, and never cryogenically frozen. The family’s emphasis on freshness carries over to their coffee, too, which has frequently been named the area's best by the readers of the Dayton Business Journal and the Dayton Daily News. The secret is in their roasting process—their small, 15-pound roaster requires them to roast the beans in small batches, which leads to a more consistent product. Once the beans are ready, coffee artisans carefully combine them with other roasts to create a vast assortment of flavors, which includes 11 house coffee blends, 12 flavored coffees, and even more seasonal selections.
Shen's Szechuan & Sushi's experienced chef, who hails from Chongqing, China, fuses spicy Chinese dishes with Japanese plates for a pan-Asian experience during lunch and dinner. Formerly Mr. Lee's, Shen's Szechuan & Sushi underwent a name transformation when Mr. Lee retired and his former steadfast employee, Shen, took over as the owner and head chef. Food from the Szechuan province is characterized by peppercorn and hot pepper, which is why doctors advise patients to avoid rubbing it in paper cuts. At Shen's, the piquant flavor profile takes the forms of peppercorn calamari with jalapeños, spicy dumplings, and Cheng Du pork, which is fried with garlic, ginger, and Szechuan chili pepper. Classic and relatively mild sushi rolls, such as those of the tuna and California varieties, complement the fiery entrees. Sleek tables, soft booths with undulating backboards, and minimalist hanging lamps imbue the dining room with a modern feel, which is warmed up with an amber color palette and traditional Eastern patterns. Wooden sushi boats artfully showcase a rainbow of fresh fish, echoing the room's square-wood columns and the colorful filigree that ornaments massive vases. A flat-screen television and an overhead projector enable guests to personalize parties that they host in the restaurant, and a space for live music gives runaway chopsticks a chance to try the drums.:m]]
Permeated with casual elegance, The Wine Gallery festoons its eclectic menu with classic bistro fare in the form of flavorful salads, soups, sandwiches, and specialties. Let the nibbling commence with starters of chips, dips, spreads, breads, and more, such as the cheese plate, a tour de fromage sidekicked by gourmet crackers and olives ($9), or its smokehouse doppelgänger ($9). Like a whole-wheat aqueduct, the mushroom-spinach pizza siphons a steady stream of silver-dollar mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, and provolone ($8). Chew through an English hedge maze of panko-coated eggplant caprese salad, with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($5 half, $9 full), then celebrate victory with the succulent, spice-rubbed prime-rib sandwich ($8) or Italian basil-chicken sandwich ($8).