When Louis Tinucci, Sr. purchased Duke's Cafe in Inver Grove in 1946, he began a family tradition of food and hospitality. In 1958, his son, Louis Jr., became the owner of the Dairy Way Drive-In in Newport—which stood on the same site as the present-day Tinucci's restaurant.
A fire destroyed the building in 1974. But rather than trying to duct tape the ashes back together, Louis Jr. and his family saw it as an opportunity to rebuild and expand. Now, having undergone several additional expansions since, the business operates under a third generation of Tinuccis. It also carries the tradition began by Louis Sr. some 60 years ago in the form of hearty chicken dinners and a popular Saturday night prime rib buffet.
The menu at Café Cravings, sister restaurant to Cravings Wine Bar & Grille, is in essence an encyclopedia of classic American cuisine. There are the sandwiches, which run the gamut from crisp BLTs and triple-decker clubs to the sizzling, strawberry-kissed Monte Cristo. There are the soups, which fill sourdough bread bowls, and the rotating selection of quiches. But most impressive has to be the breakfast. The 25-strong selection is served all day, ensuring that even those who wake up late or have their watch on backward get a bite of fluffy, ham-stuffed Denver omelets and apple-walnut pancakes topped with maple butter.
The eight-page dessert menu is no slouch either. Those who call ahead get their pick of whole cakes, tarts, cobblers, pies, cheesecakes, and other sugar-laden delicacies, which they can pick up inside or at the convenient drive-through window.
At Deleo Bros. Pizza, cooks create every pie as a work of art. They start with fresh-made dough rolled into a circle, which they top with one of five sauces, including marinara and garlic sauce made from scratch. They then scatter the customer's choice of toppings across the surface, selected from 17 vegetables and 16 meats, ranging from pepperoni to smoked oysters. The kitchen experts then top the creation with one of seven cheeses and bake it until crispy.
The team offers more entertainment than simply eating New York?style pies, though. They also maintain a retro arcade where every machine is still just 25 cents to play. Kids can experience classic games such as Mrs. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong alongside their parents, who might recall the times when the Pac-Mans were not yet wedded and lived in modest studio apartment-arcades.
Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Since 1986, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with burgers and classic American dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. Amid the sunlit dining room, diners at wooden tabletops have views of 25 TVs broadcasting sports games, competing with a cluster of arcade games for eyes' attention. Chefs cater to taste buds by plumping up pastas with chicken, shrimp, and vegetables and piling rolls with beef patties, barbecued pulled pork, and spicy buffalo chicken. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with an expansive selection of draft beers and wine. The bar and grill draws guests with regular specials and events throughout the week, including daily happy hours, Thursday-night trivia, and Sunday brunch. Every Tuesday, the restaurant serves up free meals to children, as a magician saunters table to table, entertaining kids with tricks and balloon art, crafting replacement siblings on request.
A silvery wand dips into a carafe of fresh milk, which will be used to form the foam that tops a steamy cappuccino. The smell of freshly brewed Arabica beans wafts through the air, countered by the buttery aroma of a crepe cooking on a circular griddle. Serving up sandwiches at lunch as well as sweet and savory crepes for breakfast, the staffers at Brix Coffee offer visitors a taste of Europe without the unpleasant aftertaste caused by chewing on a map. After meals, the café's daily-made custard can be blended into shakes and smoothies or scooped into sundaes or waffle cones.