It's been more than a half-century since the first Char-Grill opened its doors on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, but not much has changed at this beloved local chain. Whether in the original cinderblock building or one of the 10 locations that have been added since, people still approach the counter to jot down orders, pass them through the window, and then look on as cooks grill half- and quarter-pound steak patties over charcoal flames.
In addition to the signature smoky-flavored burgers, Char-Grill also fires up grilled chicken, chili dogs, and pulled-pork sandwiches. Milkshakes and fries add to the eatery's classic feel, helping land it on USA Today's list of 51 Great Burgers and reminding guests of simpler times when hamburgers were used as currency.
During the signature mani-pedi, one of Simply Nails' experienced technicians files nail edges before trimming and cleaning unruly cuticles. OPI polish in the customer's chosen color spills onto keratin canvases before a 7-minute foot massage eases paws' stresses from outrunning cartoon coyotes. The deluxe mani-pedi bestows the aforementioned nail trimming, cleaning, and coloring as well as a skin-nourishing foot mask, infusing human hooves with nutrients that replace toxins evicted by the deluxe's extended 15-minute foot massage. Finally, a hot-stone massage warms troublesome areas, ripening them to optimal kneadability for a muscle-mending massage therapist or near-perfect Stretch Armstrong impersonations.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Michael and Betsy, the Clayton Steakhouse bursts with fresh carnivorous cuts of meat, savory salads, and homemade delicacies all served passionately and attentively within its homey confines. Dinner patrons can head straight for the meat highway with a house-seasoned signature rib-eye steak ($18.95 for 8-ounce; $27.95 for 16-ounce), or doff a grilled beret at the French-cut chicken breast ($14.95), with all entrees granting access to the salad bar and one side. Or opt for a loaded baked potato entree packed with a plethora of veggies, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives, plus a visit to the 19-ingredient salad bar ($9.95). Keep hungry youngsters from composing rumbling-belly melodies with the kids'-size mac 'n' cheese served with french fries ($3.95), or reward them for their harmonic handiwork with a Betsy-crafted dessert, such as buttermilk pie ($4.89), triple chocolate cake ($4.89), or sweet-tooth-satisfying sorbet ($3.75).
CiCi’s Pizza combines the variety of a buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough made from scratch daily and then slathered with homemade marinara and showered with toppings ranging from traditional pepperoni and Italian-style sausage to creative combinations including buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The buffet is stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, as well as signature salads with the option to put tossing talents to the test at the salad bar. After they've feasted on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for dessert including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.
With a commitment to serving fresh food, every day the kitchen staff kneads a new batch of pizza dough as pasta sauce simmers on the stove. At 2 Cousins Pizza & Pasta, all food is made upon ordering, rather than according to the chef's psychic premonitions. The kitchen staff also procures the produce that graces the tops of pizzas and gets tossed in pasta dishes and salads every week from the local farmers’ market.