When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal—it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile’s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During dinners at the famous burger joints, you’ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers—dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they’ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.
The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders incorporated an onsite bakery into the restaurant's design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, homemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. After coating crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, cooks layer on any number of ingredients—including fresh basil, jalapeños, and bacon—as well as a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses that melts as beautifully as a box of crayons in a kiln. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables that are never frozen or canned. After ordering at the counter, guests can enjoy their meal at one of the many tables scattered throughout the yellow- and red-walled dining area. A mounted television broadcasts sports games, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows help to keep the space illuminated with enough natural light to jumpstart a solar-powered monster truck.
Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisines fuse together in Miso Asian Grill & Sushi Bar’s dishes. Its chefs hand roll sushi and prep entrees that are free of additives and preservatives and loaded with hand-cut seasonal vegetables. They slather eggplant with chili-garlic sauce and smother whole fried red snapper in red curry sauce before setting them to simmer atop the kitchen’s wok or grill. Elsewhere, chefs manning the sushi bar craft abundant hand and classic rolls alongside 20 specialty rolls, such as the spicy Crab Killer, which is served with a detailed description of the wanted crustacean’s likeness. Each of the chef’s creations can be served to waiting patrons in Miso’s contemporary, art-adorned dining room or on its outdoor patio, which is nestled beside a tranquil pond.
Spices are powerful. During antiquity, the quest for cloves and pepper helped start wars, inspired exploration, and redraw the map of the known world. Today, in many parts of the world, this power has been domesticated, relegated to calm cabinets and old recipe cards. But, there are still places in the world where spice retains its ability to define a dish and transform those who eat it. Extreme Pizza is just such a place. There, though they don't normally specialize in Indian cuisine, cooks harness the flavors of the subcontinent for their Spice Route pizza. Atop scratch-made dough, spice-packed tandoori chicken joins with red onions, green peppers, and mozzarella cheese, a cross-cultural Italian-Indian combination that brings out the best in both countries' cuisines, also available in a vegetarian version with tandoori paneer.
This painstaking attention to flavor is evident in all of Extreme Pizza's 21 specialty pies. From the pineapples and oranges that mingle with Canadian bacon on the Paia Pie to the Aveiro's Portuguese lingui?a, smoked bacon, and pepperoncinis, each pizza boasts a creative combination of flavors prepared with the freshest possible meats, cheese, fruits, and veggies. They also embrace individuality; guests are invited to chow down on personal-sized versions of each specialty pie, or design their own pizza using six house-made sauces, nine cheeses, and dozens of toppings including everything from broccoli and roasted potatoes to Thai chicken, shredded BBQ pork, and fresh basil and garlic. They even stay sensitive to dietary restrictions, offering a gluten-free menu filled with rejiggered versions of their favorite pies, alongside a variety of vegetarian and vegan specialties.
In addition to their eponymous pizzas, cooks also whips up their fresh take on other classic Italian eats. The Bahn In The USA Monster Sub riffs on the classic Vietnamese bahn mi, blending shredded pork and peanuts with the signature trio of jalapeno, carrots, and cilantro. On the calzone front, the Big Wednesday packs its pocket of dough with carmelized onions, Italian sausage, and pepperoni held together by a two-cheese blend and a thick dollop of tomato sauce. With all of these options and more to choose from, it's no wonder that the restaurant routinely rakes in awards from outlets including Entrepreneur Magazine and Ernst & Young.
Around the brand new confines of 250 Sports Grill, grass-green countertops, ornamental football helmets, and dark wood accents recall a well-maintained football field, and 18 large flat-screen TVs––one for every 100 square feet of space—keep guests entertained. The bar may be a new kid on the block, still celebrating its grand opening, but its commitment to pairing classic pub eats with the thrill of athletic competition is decidedly tried and true. Some days, the eatery will even open as early as 6 a.m. to catch live international events such as the British Open, the World Cup, and the European yodeling showdown. Inside 250's kitchen, chefs serve up Florida Gator fried-alligator bites, full racks of sauce-slathered ribs, and hearty half-pound burgers with Angus beef and fresh bison. If they dare, diners also may attempt the 250 Burger Challenge, wherein they must down a 2.5-pound burger and a side of fries in less than 20 minutes.