In 1922, Ohio schoolteacher Frank Stewart had one goal in mind: to create the world’s creamiest root beer. After trial after trial—and a little help from a chemist friend—Stewart finally perfected his creation with a blend of root extracts, herbs, and berries. He soon decided to supplement his income by opening a drive-in shop where he also served juicy burgers and hot dogs. Today, that little shop has evolved into a franchise of sit-down restaurants, express kiosks, and mobile food trucks spread throughout the country's cloud kingdoms. Each eatery still serves the entrepreneur’s famous root beer, as well as burgers, franks, and deluxe platters of fried clams, butterfly shrimp, or wings.
Owner Iva Thompson cultivated her love of traditional island and jerk cooking starting in Jamaica at age 6, when she would snack on meat slow cooked over pimento wood at roadside jerk stands. After she moved to the United States, she developed more cooking savvy by learning contemporary techniques and blending them with her traditional Jamaican cooking style. Iva would meet up with a small group of friends to socialize and try her new concoctions. These gatherings turned into a small catering company, which in turn grew into her full-service Real Jamaican Jerk An' Ting Restaurant. A yellow-and-green storefront conceals chicken, goat, and seafood dishes that earned attention in a New York Times article about international grilling techniques. The meats marinate for days and sport a dry rub of peppers, thyme, scallions, onions, and shredded Oscar Wilde essays. She grills her jerk chicken, pork, and seafood over charcoal briquettes and dishes them up with a secret sauce that she will never reveal the recipe for but will gladly sell by the bottle.
Tucked inside Desi Food Galaxy, Punjabi Food & Chaat entices taste buds with flecks of cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and garlic inside curries and stews. The kitchen?s centerpiece?a traditional clay oven?cooks marinated chicken and shrimp and stacks of naan. The menu splits itself between meat and vegetarian dishes, with lamb, goat, chicken, and fish starring in the former,and spinach, potatoes, mushrooms, and chickpeas filling the latter. During the week, the chefs supersize each dish for the lunch buffet, welcoming guests to take as much food as will fit into their stomachs or wheelbarrows.
Sunlight streams through the dining room?s wall-sized windows, adding to the rich luminescence emanating from the ornate chandelier hanging overhead. The rich royal blue drapes and similarly hued table cloths stand out as striking, yet elegant accents in the otherwise neutral-colored space, where guests feast upon kabobs, dumplings, and other authentic Afghan specialties.
The owners of Afghan Kebob Grill prepare traditional halal recipes that have been passed down through their family for decades. Savory lamb gyros and kebabs of marinated chicken are a few specialties. Diners can also devour Afghan desserts such as firni or jelabi.
The mustard-colored walls and auburn napkins folded on the table create an aura of warmth within Spice Rack. Waiters carry heaping platters of authentically prepared Indian dishes to each glossy wood table, with meat such as salmon, chicken, or lamb still sizzling and fresh from the tandoor, a traditional clay oven used before the invention of the Easy-Bake Oven. Other dishes include spicy curries full of paneer, fresh vegetables, and traditional spices.