The towering street-side sign at The Roadhouse shines like a beacon onto a full bar and restaurant with a menu that plays off comfort-fare conventions and spice-steeped Cajun traditions. Drinks leave cool circles on tables as patrons circulate during special events such as ladies' night, and LCD televisions broadcast big games.
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen or remove the oven. Papa Murphy’s did the latter when it opened the doors to its first shop in 1981, ditching the bake-and-deliver method for the take ‘n’ bake method. This technique gives the kitchen staff more time to focus on kneading fresh pizza dough and blanketing it with toppings in plain sight of customers. The flurries of veggies, meats, and cheeses fall onto stuffed, thin-crust, and signature pies that customers can augment with sides of cookies, cheesy bread, or a Cinnamon Wheel—a sweet treat whose recipe of cinnamon spread, crumbled streusel, and a round base can be traced back to early caveman chefs. Though Papa Murphy’s has spread to more than 1,200 locations, the chain holds each of its franchises to the highest-quality standards and was rewarded for its efforts with the Consumers’ Choice award for Best Pizza Chain from Restaurants and Institutions magazine in 2009.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Inca Express is the newest addition to the Inca family, which has been serving up fresh, authentic Mexican fare for more than a decade. An homage to generations-old family recipes, the dishes are chockfull of quality ingredients, zesty spices, and enough love to turn a wooden puppet into a real boy and a sock puppet into a foot, all served up with a side of quick and friendly service. Commence feeding with a round of cervezas ($2.75–3.25) and a side of velvety guac ($2.25) with chips and salsa ($3.95). Meat fans will have trouble choosing between carne asada and pollo asado tacos ($1.95 each) and a chicken Jalisco burrito smothered with green tomatillo sauce ($7.95). The Inca fajita platter's irresistible blend of chicken or steak sautéed with onions and peppers and plated with pico de gallo, cheese, rice, beans, sour cream, and guacamole will undoubtedly earn you an esteemed position in the Clean Plate Club ($9.95). If you're not as stuffed as a cartoon cat attached to a bike pump, indulge in a dessert of fried ice cream covered in cornflake crumbs, honey, and whipped cream ($3.95).
Cherry Street Grille specializes in omelets, with 101 different varieties flipping from frying pans seven days a week and 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays. Each omelet contains four eggs with flavor combinations that range from the classic denver to a chili, cheese, and onion concoction. Sweeter options include an omelet with bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter. Gravy-slathered biscuits constitute an alternative breakfast, as do massive pancakes the size of a typical medium pizza, dubbed “Mancakes” based on their macho size rather than their ability to sprout five o’clock shadows. Burgers and fried chicken sandwiches complement breakfast fare, as do succulent 10- and 14-ounce slabs of prime rib.
Secluded amid Black Hills National Forest, Horse Creek Resort at Sheridan Lake is a quiet, rustic getaway. Rugged hiking trails wend through the surrounding woods, leading to rolling hills, grassy meadows, and sun-dappled clearings. A half mile away at Sheridan Lake, you can go fishing, boating, or kayaking in sparkling waters ringed by miles of forested shoreline. You can rent boats at the onsite marina and pick up any essentials, such as bait and tackle and phrasebooks that help you communicate with local mermaids.
The resort’s wooden cabins and RV campsites have easy access to both the lake and forest. Most feature fully stocked kitchens, but there’s also an onsite restaurant that serves prime rib and USDA Choice steaks. You can also request a barbecue grill if you want to grill out in your backyard.
The Cookie Jar makes all the circular creations on its cookie menu from a delicious, deweaponized plastic explosive known as "scratch." In the Monster, this scratch takes the form of peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms, and oatmeal. The Rice Krispies chocolate-chip coconut cookie, meanwhile, doubles as both a milk sponge and frolf Frisbee (all 6-inch circular cookies are $1.78 each or $21.36 per dozen). Dress a cookie to impress a foodie fashionista with 3-inch decorated cookies ($12.50 per dozen) or relate to any old square with a mutual admiration for pumpkin, brownie, or other specialty bars ($10.50 per dozen).