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.
Last Legg Chicken & Waffles offers up a rich, flavorful menu of Southern-style cuisine to pique the appetites of hungry visitors. Start off with an order of jerk chicken wings ($7.50) and give the rude fowl a mouthful of manners before tasking teeth with the two-bite plate, a foursome of hot bite-size buttermilk waffles accompanied by four chicken wings ($8.50). Diners can dive into unchartered territories with soul shrimp and a waffle ($10.50), or stick to satisfying land-meat cravings with the killer bacon-and-cheese burger ($8.50), which flavorfies the palate with onions and a special sauce in a sesame-seed bun.
MaChu's menu courts appetites with modern, upscale Cajun dishes spiced with influences from around the globe. Traditional specialties such as seafood jambalaya ($19.95) and barbecued beef short ribs ($18.95) join culinary hands with out-of-town entrees including Cajun Asia—curried tilapia sautéed with bamboo shoots and served over yellow rice ($15.95). Fried selections such as Cajun fried chicken and southern fried fish ($9.95 each) don crisp golden-batter suits and promenade across tongues accompanied by a choice of hush puppies or fries.
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.
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.
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.