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.
Falafelji’s development is nearly a century in the making. Owner Bilal Beiram traces the genesis of his Middle Eastern restaurant back to 1920, when his grandfather learned the trade of crafting falafel in a Middle Eastern port city. From this humble beginning, the grandfather became a globetrotting chef, later retiring and opening his own falafel shop, where Bilal started to help out at 10 years old and continued to do so during summer breaks. Inspired by his grandfather, Bilal infuses the menu of Falafelji—which means "falafel seller"—with authentic Middle Eastern flavors. The dishes, which range from vegetarian falafel sandwiches to kofta kebabs with minced lamb and beef, are available for delivery and takeout.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.
Founded in 1962, Saban's Place stands as a nostalgic throwback to old fashioned, family-run supper clubs. Chefs fire tried-and-true steak and seafood dishes such as broiled fillet, new york strip, and sautéed walleye flanked by hot rolls and a choice of potato. Dinners also entitle patrons to cruise the salad bar, where house-made dressings stand ready to be drizzled onto crunchy bites of lettuce or a discriminating toddler's pacifier. Chefs conclude meals on a sweet note with freshly made desserts.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the "International House of Pancakes." Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.