The chefs at Grand Duke's Restaurant sate bellies with authentic Lithuanian dishes filled with the flavors of northeastern Europe. Staff stuff potato cepelinai dumplings, Lithuania's national zeppelin-shaped dish, with filling such as ground pork or cottage cheese and top potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce. Servers top tables with entrees that include country-style duck, which slow roasts before joining thick kugelis cake and warm sauerkraut, and twin baked pork hocks that rest beside servings of red potatoes. Inside the restaurant's private dining rooms, parties of up to 35 guests can partake in a panoply of dine-in packages. Brown timbered ceilings recall the inns and taverns of a faraway kingdom, and Lithuanian paraphernalia on the walls covers up secret portholes to Vilnius.
Claiming a slew of awards, including Best Chicken Dinner by the Orange County Register, El Pollo Loco fills stomachs on the go with a menu of flavorful poultry inspired by Mexico's kitchens. Enjoy the rich tastes of a four-piece combo—including breasts and wings marinated in herbs, spices, and citrus juices—entouraged by two sides from an expansive selection, including spanish rice, BBQ black beans, corn cobbettes, and mac 'n' cheese ($8.99). For a more portable lunch during parkour breaks from the office, wrap your chicken in the warm tortilla blanket of a twice-grilled burrito ($5.99). El Pollo Loco's innovative salsa bar tickles tongues with fresh varieties of avocado, chipotle, and pico de gallo.
If a visit to one of Southern Belle's restaurants feels a lot like coming home, it might have something to do with the hearty family traditions behind the kitchen's down-home breakfast and lunch dishes. “My father was in pancake houses all his life,” says owner Steve Fotos. Today, many of the same recipes used by Steve's father help populate a menu of hearty comfort foods that includes a poached-egg and sausage benedict smothered in country gravy and french toast stuffed with cinnamon apples, strawberries and pecans, or blueberries and bananas. But while the country-fried-steak or smoked-sausage skillets are tempting, the expansive menu offers options for diets of all kind, pairing fluffy egg whites with strawberries, granola, and multigrain toast and swapping out regular maple syrup for bottles that are low-calorie, sugar-free, or simply sealed shut. Photos of farms and pastoral images smile down upon diners as they dig in and gently remind them to inquire about the restaurant's seasonal specials, which range from summertime salads with sun-ripened veggies to bowls of homemade wintertime chili.
Diners can practically hear the gulf tides lapping on a Mexican beach as they read the menu at Burrito Mex, whose myriad seafood dishes feature ingredients ranging from red snapper and octopus to oysters and shrimp. Whether fried, breaded, or drenched with spicy diabla sauce, the aquatic creations stop stomachs from rumbling loud enough to trigger lightning. Back on land, the kitchen also crafts traditional Mexican entrees such as burritos filled with carne asada steak, al pastor pork, or—for the more adventurous—tongue. To wash down their feasts, patrons can sip fruity margaritas or feel like powerful diplomats by clinking bottles of domestic and imported beer.
The frown on the Angry Slice and Sub Shop's logo is usually the only one you'll see in the combination pizza and sub shop. That's because with each oven-fresh slice of pizza and deli sub piled on D'Amato bread, diners also receive a complimentary helping of ice cream. This pleasant extra adds a sweet note to the shop's variety of innovative pizza toppings, such as jerk chicken and italian beef, and its six classic sub sandwiches. Guests can savor the hearty meals while sipping on domestic and craft beers such as Miller Light, Goose Island 312, and Stella Artois, and watching football games or lessons on pizza etiquette via six flat-screen TVs.
The Chew Chew?s chef and owner, Scott Zimmer, may be too young to have experienced the height of America?s railroad boom, but that doesn?t stop him from feeling nostalgic for it. Zimmer has turned that nostalgia into something interesting, outfitting his restaurant with antique rail menus and ancient photos of trains. He invites guests aboard his culinary express, treating them to American-inspired dishes such as Colorado lamb chops, chipotle-barbecue chicken flatbreads, and center-cut filet mignon steaks with lump crab. The space embraces natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the illusion of an al fresco dining experience and let anxious guests keep a lookout for actual runaway trains.