Southern, Cajun, and Mexican influences all show up on the menu at Eldorado Southern Grille, an eatery with décor inspired by roadhouses and barbecue joints across America. Bacon-and-cheddar-stuffed burgers, beef brisket with fried onion straws, and chicken wings tossed with cilantro-Grand Marnier sauce are just a few options. Flat-screened TVs broadcast sports games while bartenders pour draft beers and mix signature cocktails such as the Mexican Iced Tea—a Long Island iced tea topped with Cafe Patron.
Zorn's award-winning fried chicken comes in old-fashioned boxes, buckets, and gigantic baskets with homemade fixins and all-time-favorite sides. Pair a half-chicken dinner for one (rotisserie-style $8.49, fried $9.99) with two of sixteen sides such as creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, or garlic mashed potatoes ($2.39 individual, $4.29 large). Or, high-five Freud with a bucket o' breasts: four plump, juicy pieces of skinless white meat Southern-fried to a deep-golden, crunchy glow ($12.99). For a competitive-eating party, pour 50 barbecued wings from a bucket onto the table and devour a path to glory ($29.95). Click here to see the full menu.
Whether beneath the thatched roof of the tiki hut or at an intimate table surrounded by bamboo shoots, Papaya Thai and Asian BBQ’s tropical themes pervade the eatery’s confines. The barbecue bar grants diners a front-row seat to watch chefs expertly grill marinated meats and veggies on wooden skewers, wielding the power of fire like Prometheus to cook beef to its tender best state. A variety of Thai tasting plates and main dishes include classics such as pad thai, sizzling chicken in a thai barbecue sauce, and skewered chicken satay. From the tiki bar, bartenders pour tropical drinks such as papaya thai-ritas made with sweet mango and nutty monkeys, an almond-rum-banana concoction the staff delivers to tables by way of swinging through the rafters.
Kansas City Smokehouse’s hickory-wood smokers slow-cook succulent meats in the tradition of Missouri barbecue masters. Barbecued meets, including beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked kielbasa pile on plates by the quarter pound. Tender st. louis ribs or one half of a barbecued chicken share platter space with cornbread and classic sides, such as Cajun rice, collard greens, baked beans, and sweet-potato fries. Chefs dust catfish and skewered shrimp in their signature kansas city dry rub, searing in the spices on a cast-iron griddle heated with their laser vision. Nineteen craft and domestic beers accent the smoky hues, or pair up with a bevy of burgers or steaks.
Louie Demirakos devised Clearwater Charlie's in his late father's name, creating an homage to his unfulfilled vision for—in Charlie’s words—an “eat it and beat it” establishment. The menu is scrawled on chalkboards above the kitchen assembly line, and dishes hit the counter on paper plates, which conveniently fold into paper sailboats to float leftovers home. Though the restaurant gives top billing to seafood, Charlie’s specialty, it also incorporates a slew of American dishes such as barbecue chicken and pork, steak, and burgers with a choice of 22 toppings. The restaurant is also entirely nut-free, ensuring that food-sensitive diners can safely savor any dish that emerges from the bustling kitchen.
Part sports bar, part fine-dining restaurant, Rockwell’s Bar and Grill offers a full bar and first-class menu of classic American cuisine. Start an appetizer of buffalo wings ($7.95) in mild, medium, hot, or barbecue, to prime a meal pump, and move ravenously onward to one of Rockwell’s mainstays, such as the big-sizzle fajitas with chicken, steak, or shrimp ($14.95–$16.95), or the hot alaskan, pan-seared salmon served between risotto cake and tomato-artichoke ragout stew ($18.95). Steak lovers will savor the spice-rubbed 14-ounce Texas flat iron beside bacon-cheddar mashed potatoes ($19.95), and Rockwell’s Burger Challenge puts burger bellies to the test with six 8-ounce patties topped with a choice of cheese and a 30-minute time limit ($29.95). Defeat all that meat and it’s free; run out of time with remaining bovine and head home with a hefty to-go box.