When German baker William Entenmann came to America in the late 1800s and landed his first job in a bread bakery, he probably didn’t realize that he’d soon create one of America’s favorite brands of freshly baked goods. He opened his first Entenmann’s in Brooklyn in 1898, lugging sweets from door to door by way of a horse-drawn wagon. Today, though the mode of transportation has changed, the bakery’s donuts, crumb cakes, dessert cakes, bite-size muffins, and other baked goods continue to perform their dessert duties from supermarkets and bakery outlets across the United States.
The chefs at Big John’s Cheesesteaks & More grill up Philly favorites alongside American and Italian-American fare. They place 100% beef and chicken steaks on fresh-baked buns, topping them with cheeses such as mozzarella, provolone, or cheese whiz. Added toppings of bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms melt right into customers' gooey cheese of choice. Pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and hoagies, and salads of thai-chili chicken or goat cheese, walnuts, and craisins round out the menu, and a free pickle bar displays more than 13 varieties of pickles that, like people, get wrinkly when soaked in vinegar.
Taking familiar American food and adorning it with deliciously unexpected toppings has made Cool Dog Cafe an innovator among the casual food serve market. All of this innovation has paid off; the dogs and burgers were a hit, and the continued boundary pushing helped the restaurant take home Best Hot Dog runner-up honors in PHL17's Hot List voting and winning Best Hot Dog in SJ Magazine's Best of SJ 2011.
Exotic toppings dominate the all-beef franks and their fresh made angus burger cousins, which welcome culinary accouterments ranging from the thai satay dog's peanut sauce and chow mein noodles to the Tennessee angus burger's Jack Daniel's glaze. Guests can also shoo away preset blueprints and build their own entrees, pairing dogs and burgers with toppings such as traditional relish and mustard or premium chili and fried eggs. Substitutable vegetarian hot dogs and burgers help herbivores play practical jokes on a T. rex or sample menu items including a creation combining sweet chili sauce with crushed jalapeño corn fritters. No matter the ingredients, all entrees play well with the restaurant's crisp fresh-cut fries, which add a salty crunch to every bite and helped Cool Dog acquire Best French Fries in South Jersey Magazine's South Jersey's Best.
While the culinary accolades are nice, the owner of Cool Dog Cafe also appreciates the competitive side of eating. With that in mind, they devised the 1/2 lb. Homewrecker Challenge. The premise is deliciously simple: anyone who can wolf down two of the overstuffed half-pound hot dogs—topped with everything from jalapenos and cole slaw to baked beans, sport pepper and "Kaboom sauce"—and a small order of fresh-cut fries lives forever on the restaurant's Wall of Fame. They also venerate the losers, as well: an online gallery reveals the faces of those who flew too close to the hot dog.
It may be New Jersey, but the pizza style is decidedly New York. Either in family or personal sizes, the pies on Original People's Pizza & Family Restaurant's menu pack toppings of ricotta cheese, fried onions, or fresh basil and can be stuffed or served in either classic New York or Sicilian slices. Fifteen years have helped the chefs add Big Apple flavor to its Italian classics in a variety of forms. There are entrees of chicken giardino, a chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, or scallops served with spinach and peas in a white wine sauce. Then there are the pasta dishes, which use fresh noodles to soak up garlic sauce and corral littleneck clams just the way swimming pool noodles soak up pool water and littleneck clams.
At La Posata Ristorante, guests are welcome to bring their dates, families, and bottles of wine to dinner. The family-owned BYOB hosts lunch and dinner menus with homemade pastas as the foundation for entrees of grilled eggplant with sundried tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella or lobster with sweet peas and roasted red peppers. Homemade tiramisu or crème brulee add finishing touches to meals unless diners request showers of confetti.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
Visible from the seats bordering Jade Spice's noodle house, chefs handcraft doughy strands in the Lan Zhou style. The history of this technique stretches back 160 years, to when nomadic people of northwest China began serving the pulled noodles in clear, aromatic broth to their honored guests. Jade Spice's own honored guests savor these handmade noodles alongside a broad menu of meat and vegetarian dishes, washing them down with beverages brought from home. Drawing inspiration from 30 years in the restaurant industry, owner Hong Zhang masterfully blends tradition with modernity within Jade Spice. Ceremonial vases and statues make their homes amid a sleek decor of red booths, red walls, red rafters, and bashful greenery.