Every 20 years our government allows one business to turn every day of the week into a Friday with a series of special calendars printed on stone. Today's Groupon honors the restaurant gubernatorially ordained in 1993 with $20 worth of week-ending cuisine at T.G.I. Friday's for $10. Bring your family, friends, or a group of tourists that follow you because they think you're Jamie Farr to indulge in distinctly Friday fare at a restaurant renowned for delivering the euphoric feeling of having two consecutive days off work.
In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
Tom Krukemeyer, owner of The Mad Cactus, learned many things when celebrity chef Robert Irvine stopped by to assist a 48-hour restaurant makeover. Firstly, don't insult a celebrity chef when your microphone is still on. Secondly, small touches—such as a complimentary salsa bar—offer large boosts to customer satisfaction. As Krukemeyer explained to Debbie Palmer of Strongsville Patch, though Irvine's visit with the crew of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible started off shaky, if resulted in subtle, but significant improvements that he's proud to stand behind.
Today, after the hurly-burly brought by Irvine, Krukemeyer’s chefs continue to turn seafood and barbecued meats—including mesquite-grilled steaks—into Tex-Mex dishes. To complement the menu’s array of southern flavors, a toppings bar furnishes diners with more than 10 salsas. Krukemeyer also slates daily food and drink specials, which encourage diners to socialize in the main dining space, the cantina, the walk-in humidor, or on the patio.
At Sakura Sushi House, fresh morsels of fish, eel, and octopi nestle into handcrafted rolls, a hibachi grill sears steak, and teriyaki sauce infuses chicken and tofu with savory flavor. Patrons perch at the granite-topped sushi bar and browse a menu brimming with four pages of specialty sushi rolls, or lounge in maroon booths, filling squirt guns from bowls of udon noodles. In the kitchen, chefs season meats ranging from filet mignon to lobster and augment shrimp tempura with teriyaki. After chopsticks ferry the final pieces of maki to tongues, punch their timecards, and head home, diners sip hot or cold sake to finish the evening with a final gustatory flourish.
Inside HoneyBaked Ham, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
To go with the meats, the kitchen whips up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato souffl?. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
The first Cleats Club Seat Grille was founded in 1996 in North Royalton?but since then, the colorful sports pub has expanded to seven franchise locations around Northeast Ohio. Perhaps this spread was due in part to their signature chicken wings, which are served traditional or boneless and drenched in one of 18 zesty sauces. Diners can even forego the typical chicken wing altogether for Cleats' Water Wings, which use crispy fantail shrimp. An expansive sports-themed menu also highlights rich pub grub such as half-pound burgers, melts, mac 'n' cheese bowls, and slow-cooked ribs.