The Heartland Grill’s deft chefs nimbly assemble leaning towers of protein out of half-pound Choice-beef patties, fluffy buns, and a mélange of savory toppings. The All American burger ($5.95) arrives tableside to peals of patriotic fanfare, marching with cheddar cheese and traditional toppings next to a french-fry diorama of Washington crossing the Delaware. The mushroom-swiss burger’s ($6.95) savory sauté conjures memories of autumnal mushroom hunts, and the barbecue-bacon burger ($6.95) doubles up on the meaty munchables beneath a healthy slather of toothsome sauce. Mix and match a pair of burgers with a dining companion, or practice for upcoming taste-tester auditions with blindfolded bites of two personal sandwiches.
It's hard to imagine a restaurant that epitomizes the great American diner better than Huddle House. Since 1964, the restaurant—which has locations scattered prominently throughout the southern states—has warmed bellies with burgers, hearty breakfasts, and heaping helpings of friendly hospitality, available 24-hours a day. Even the moniker is All-American: founder John Sparks came up with the name after a football huddle, hoping it would inspire his customers to gather round a table and swap stories over a warm meal.
Over the years, Huddle House's menu has expanded and adapted to changing tastes, but its focus has remained the same: old-fashioned, American comfort food. No matter what time it is, guests can order up biscuits smothered in gravy and cheese or dig into the shop's signature waffles, whipped up using a secret recipe and waffle irons that can't read. Afternoon eats include chopped steak burgers served with regular or sweet potato fries and sandwiches with a southern twist, like a Philly cheese steak stuffed between slices of thick-cut Texas toast.
In the kitchen at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, it all goes back to the tortilla. After wrapping itself tightly around marinated and sautéed beef, chicken, or shrimp, the humble breadstuff reconfigures itself into myriad dishes from a menu of both traditional and inventive Mexican cuisine. Large tortillas bursting with beans and veggies welcome dollops of sour cream and cheese, whereas their smaller counterparts submerge themselves in enchilada sauce or embrace the buddy system as part of more than 30 combo platters. House specialties do occasionally veer away from the famous flatbread; the Guakimaki burger combines Angus steak with a healthy spoonful of the kitchen’s signature made-from-scratch guacamole. That same guac also enhances the flavor of traditional platters of golden chimichangas and flame-kissed fajitas. In addition to listing out prospective feasts, the menu also denotes low-carb options, which helps diners keep track of their nutritional intake while still eating like royalty.
Nino Piccolo grew through adolescence in Sicily, where he acquired the culinary prowess to craft pizzas and pastas from centuries worth of classic Sicilian recipes. At Nino's Italian Restaurant, his dishes remain true to that cultural and familial tradition, stressing the importance of authenticity by drawing on ingredients imported from Italy and specialty cheeses imported from the moon. The salsiccia entree exemplifies Old-World tastes with fresh-ground italian sausage slow-cooked in tomato-basil sauce squeezed from fresh, vine-ripened fruit, and the Nonna entree, nicknamed "Grandma's pasta," edges out hunger with rigatoni under eaves of sweet, roasted peppers, pancetta, and capers. A façade of windowpanes allows natural light to fall upon red-and-white-checked tablecloths and a painting of a sunrise tinged with teal and yellow. Tabletop lamps illuminate plates and add dramatic flair to ghost stories indoors, whereas Mother Nature brightens an outdoor patio humming with ceiling fans.
The chefs at Fuji Japanese Steak & Sushi dazzle diners with virtuosic hibachi cooking that takes place on tableside teppanyaki grills. As guests watch, flames lap at filet mignon, salmon, and calamari before the bounty gravitates toward outstretched plates. Dozens of specialty rolls also grace palates, from the Under Control roll stocked with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura to the Ocean roll of shredded lobster and spicy mayo surrounded by snow crab and eel sauce. Wood paneling adorns one wall in the dining room and another is composed of interlocking rectangles of colorful patterns. Guests can also unwind beneath the bar's cylindrical overhead light fixtures, where they cheer for and shout stock tips at the millionaire athletes displayed on an HDTV.