Bill and Amy Wesolowski were no strangers to barbecue when they opened their restaurant. After all, they'd been grilling up mountainous platters of ribs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken at local parties and special events since 2008. Within their cheerful, sunlit joint, the seasoned caterers and skilled barbecue chefs whip up their signature dishes, along with southern-style sides of barbecue beans, collard greens, and coleslaw. The duo even accommodates vegetarians with meat-free menu selections, unlike other barbecue venues that require vegetarians to wear an itchy wreath of string beans around their necks. Plates pair with bottles of beer as they sit atop the white-cloth tables of the casual dining room, where colorful photographs and drawings of jazz instruments adorn the walls.
Here's the thing about Famous Dave: he wasn't always famous. Dave Anderson inherited his passion for barbecue from his father, a humble construction worker who knew where to find the best barbecue on Chicago's street corners. In 1994, Dave opened his first barbecue shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, and before long, the shack was attracting 5,000 customers weekly?a momentous feat considering Hayward had a population of 1,800. Dave's lifelong pursuit of barbecue perfection had certainly paid off. It gave him a new life's work to be proud of. And, of course, a new first name to put on his passport.
With locations now spread across the U.S., Canada, and even Puerto Rico, Famous Dave's has become a revelation for barbecue fans. It has earned more than 700 awards, including first-place honors for its ribs, wings, and sauces. Most of these awards have Famous Dave's cooking process to thank. For every batch, pitmasters hand-rub high-quality cuts and cook them for hours at a time in live-wood smokers, taking care to not disturb the dragons napping between the logs. For Famous Dave's renowned ribs, the process has an extra step after the smoker, as each rack gets tossed on a grill to caramelize the sauces before serving.
Guests relax amid island-themed decor as Margaritaville's culinary savants whip up a menu of grill classics and inventive Caribbean-inspired eats. Dive into a seafood quesadilla appetizer ($12.25), which beckons diners to devour shrimp, scallops, and crab fillings held together by the same spinach and cheese foundation that supports the restaurant's walls. Equipped with certified grain-fed Angus beef, chefs grill 9 ounces of top sirloin ($24.95) to desired temperature levels and top the meaty mountain in a cap of gorgonzola cream. Jimmy's Jammin Jambalaya ($19.95) fills up big bowls with classic Cajun flavours, and the aptly named Licensed to Chill chicken burger ($13.95) silences stomach cries with a jerk-style breast basted in maple-bourbon sauce. For dessert, customers can sink teeth into a Jamaican rum cake ($7.95) that comes topped in seasonal fruits as fresh as a morning newspaper mistakenly printed on dryer sheets.
T.G.I. Friday's transforms the six worst days of the week into the only day of the week that is acceptable to most Americans. Friday's is equipped to fill your life with Jack Daniel's sauce and endless salad and breadsticks. The multipronged menu contains prongs for burgers, sandwiches, salads and soups, seafood, pastas, chicken, and more, so that any craving flame can be put out.
Big Texas Bar and Grill treats diners to the hearty, down-home food of the American South and Southwest, with a smorgasbord of cheesy quesadillas, tender pulled pork and chicken, and tangy signature barbecue sauce. Amid surroundings of rough-hewn wooden-picket fences and antique filling-station memorabilia, patrons dig into feasts of slow-smoked ribs and spicy hot wings fit for a hungry ranch hand or hardworking rodeo clown, along with cold beers that pair nicely with pizzas, battered onions, and grilled burgers. And as they dine, guests can enjoy cowboy-themed pastimes, such as listening to live country and rock music, singing at open mic nights, or saddling up for a turn on a rowdy mechanical bull.