A pink ‘59 Cadillac flips on its headlights and a waiter strides to the window. “What'll be, Mac?” This was the golden age of carhops, when root-beer cost a nickel, and Joe Fanning built A&W of Smithfield with a hammer, saw, and a little elbow grease. Today, it is still a family operation under the ownership of Stephanie Mosca, whose sisters and kids have all slung sarsaparilla among the eatery's carports. Those servers and their compatriots have dispensed more than one million dogs and 97,000 frosty mugs of A&W root-beer at the location. Every year, beginning on the second Saturday in March, diners drive up and flip on their lights to signal to a carhop that they are ready to order. Hot dogs made from American beef pair perfectly with root-beer floats laced in cool tufts of froth, and burgers match up to pamphlets about not feeding the cassette deck no matter how hungry it looks.
Ranked the No. 1 Submarine Sandwich Franchise in the 2011 "Franchise 500" issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, Subway has graced the globe with nutritious stacks of meats, crisp veggies, flavorful cheeses, and fresh-baked breads since 1965. Sandwiches, which can be left out cold or invited into a toaster, include classics such as the turkey breast, black-forest ham, the premium big philly cheesesteak, and a host of $5 foot-long subs—which can be used to measure a child's height or the distance between Earth and the sun. There are also kids' meals to introduce children to the concept of eating. The eateries also open for bountiful breakfast sandwiches served alongside cups of Seattle’s Best Coffee.
In true Mexican culinary tradition, the tortilla plays a major role at Cancun Family Mexican Restaurant, encasing an extensive selection of enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and chimichangas. But the menu also includes plenty of specialty entrees without corn or flour shells, such as pescado veracruz, a halibut fillet grilled with garlic and lemon and paired with rice and beans. There's also steak picado, strips of sirloin sautéed with onions and peppers, and chile verde, morsels of marinated pork loin colored with green tomatillo sauce and the rosiness of forks inflamed by the dish's spiciness.
Reali's Fine Italian Cuisine's owner and chef, Jim Reali assembles meats, pastas, and sauces into hearty Italian creations using cooking skills first cultivated when he was 16 years old. Diners choose between upscale offerings such as veal and chicken parmigiana or call the waiter via foghorn to order seafood selections. Downpours of rich tomato sauce cascade over pastas, and, as meals unfold, eaters can repurpose pieces of penne as straws to sip white, red, and blush wines sourced from domestic and international vineyards.
Smoked bacon. Guacamole. Chili. A whole fried egg. With a simple tick mark, these and dozens of other toppings appear atop a beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patty. Rare Burger Bar’s build-your-own-burger menu gives patrons the opportunity to make a fully custom burger. Those feeling less inventive can select from specialty burgers such as the Texas burger, which combines an all-Angus beef patty with bacon, barbecue sauce, and a homemade onion ring etched into a tiny spur. Non-burger menu items include hand-cut fries, chicken sandwiches, salads, and buffalo wings.
Two small silver handles join to form an elegant V across Vintage's front door, a nod to the restaurant's name as well as the understated elegance of its upscale, internationally inspired menu. Lunches of ricotta ravioli—stuffed with housemade ricotta cheese, grilled chicken, and tomato and served with roasted-garlic fondue—give way to dinners of paella peppered with Gulf shrimp, native clams, and mussels from Prince Edward Island. Vintage offsets its hearty Western dishes with a sushi bar that brims with sashimi and specialty rolls such as the Volcano, whose crabstick, avocado, and spicy baked scallops are harvested from separate tectonic plates. In addition to serving its usual brunches, lunches, and dinners, Vintage hosts occasional cooking classes, wine-tasting dinners, and other special events.