The interior of Bigg's Roadhouse reminds drivers of the Mother Road—drawings of Route 66 and the countryside it wanders decorate the spot's walls. Twelve televisions broadcast sports games or the highlights from last-night's news. In the kitchen, cooks form fresh beef into hefty burgers, slice rotisserie chicken for enchiladas, and bake signature pizzas such as a pulled-pork pie with jalapeños, cream cheese, and barbecue sauce. And at Friday fish fries, they batter Icelandic cod to serve with housemade potato pancakes. Bartenders fill glasses with cold beer and stronger libations at a full bar.
Beer continually flows into pitchers at Spitfire's On State, largely to temper the waves of heat brought on by the eatery's signature chicken wings. These treats arrive at tables dressed in classic hot sauce or 1 of 16 others flavors, including ginger sesame, bourbon mustard, and caribbean jerk. Though the everyday menu is anchored by nine signature burgers, it gets a welcome addition on Fridays— the bar hosts a fish fry, where cod fillets and shrimp are doused in beer batter and served with classic fixings.
The distance from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, to anywhere in Germany is vast, to say the least, and includes a trip over the Atlantic Ocean. But Schwefel's Restaurant—plopped right in between Madison and Milwaukee—cuts out lengthy travels and potential run-ins with hang-gliding sea monsters. Inside Schwefel's, the scents of sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel float amid cherry-red tablecloths in the understated dining area. Familiar American dishes, such as lobster and prime rib, share table space with German house specialties, such as the beef rouladen, a fusion of rolled beef, pickle, bacon, and onion. Regardless of the food's origin, Schwefel's makes each dish from scratch—right down to the soups and dressings. Though Schwefel's Restaurant is no stranger to formal dinners, a more casual bar area entertains patrons with arcade games and sports broadcasts.
Centennial Bar & Grille satiates thirsts and appetites with authentic, fresh pub fare served in a century-old structure that's home to compelling historical nuances. Peruse the dinner menu and start off with handmade five-onion soup ($5.95), then proceed to the main course with any of the freshly made classics such as grilled tenderloin and mushroom ravioli—hearty cut of beef tenderloin quietly wooing the robust flavors of portabello mushrooms and roasted red peppers in a rich gorgonzola cream sauce ($15.95). After settling disputes between former taste buddies, tempt sweet teeth with a variety of house-made desserts such as cocoa-crazed Guinness chocolate cake ($5.50) or the always-beloved bread pudding ($5.50). Along with daily specials, Centennial features a Friday fish fry, featuring a half pound of tender walleye ($13.95), perch ($13.95), or cod ($11.25) fillets lightly breaded and fried.
Chow down on hearty sandwiches while sipping fruit smoothies at The Hub, a cozy spot offering a bevy of huggable, Chicago-inspired comfort eats amid an inviting atmosphere. Patrons can choose from a host of menu items that satisfy both discerning and cast-iron palates. Allow taste buds free reign across the asiago roast beef panini, a melty marriage of roast beef, asiago cheese, ground mustard, optional red onions, and toasty italian bread ($6.49). All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs bench-press neon relish, diced onion, yellow mustard, and sport peppers atop a poppy seed bun ($3.39 each). The Hub features plentiful vegetarian options, such as the veggie dog ($3.19), three-cheese panini with mozzarella, provolone, and fontina on tart sourdough bread ($5.95), and harmoniously crunchy salads ($5.95–$7.95). Smoothies ($3.75 regular, $5.50 large) sweet-talk blushing tongues with a variety of flavors, including the breezy Brazilian Orchard (with açaí, peach, pear, and apricot), strawberry pineapple, and bubblegum. Bubble teas ($3.75) and milkshakes ($3–$3.50) pack a flavorful punch that’s more rejuvenating than outrunning a territorial badger during a morning jog.
Amid Centercourt’s 14,000-square-foot hardwood haven, people entertain their eyeballs with 20 flat-screen TVs, their ears with frequent live music, and their taste buds with a hearty spread of pub grub and brews. Centercourt fields a full team of wines and spirits, in addition to the 16 on-tap offerings and 30+ bottled beers awaiting their release. Sports enthusiasts can create an edible lineup with build-your-own sandwiches or Hobo fries (spud spears smothered in cheese and beef gravy; $4.95)—an appetizer that can be customized with bacon, chicken, or steak (up to $3.95 each). For a meal as light as a globetrotting eccentric’s hot air balloon, there are salads ($3.95–$9.95) and a roasted-vegetable wrap ($8.95).
In 2012, Man v. Food called in Jeremy Wheeler, one of their most trusted competitors, to take on Red Rock Saloon's Unforgiven challenge. As he sidled up to the table, a gravity-defying meal towered before him: atop a pound of French fries sat a fried chicken breast buried between two half-pound bacon cheeseburgers. Encircling the meaty monolith were six ghost-chili chicken wings—and he only had 23 minutes to eat it all. Though it took him until the very last second, Jeremy defeated the meal, becoming only the second person in Red Rock's history to do so.
It’s fitting that Red Rock would dream up a challenge most patrons can’t win—the restaurant is named after a real-life rodeo bull that famously bucked more than 300 riders. When patrons aren’t lining up to ride the mechanical version of Red Rock or listening to live rock and country music, they’re crowding around tables to order from a menu that boasts 2012 Chili Bowl champion Texas red chili. Like Oprah’s address book, the rest of the menu reads like a scrapbook of American pop culture: seasoned chicken crowns the James Dean salad, molasses barbecue sauce sweetens KC Jones wings, and pineapple and jalapeños pile atop a Will Kane pulled-pork sandwich.