Mary's Burger Bistro builds beefy, 1950s-style hamburgers and other soda-fountain classics from homemade french fries to old-fashioned milkshakes. A slab of breaded chicken or a 1/3-pound all-beef patty makes an excellent base for a leaning tower of eats ($4.99 a la carte) topped with bacon and mushrooms ($0.75 each). Fast-breaking burgers become winning baskets filled with chips, fries, or green salad (an additional $2.49), drenching their coach with a medium soda upon victory. Folks who prefer a meatless matchup can munch veggie burgers with pickles and onions ($1.25 for a single, $1.75 for a double) or gooey grilled cheeses on white or wheat bread ($2.99). Guests on a quest for zest will savor the Fiesta burger's trifecta of pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, and salsa ($5.50).
The third location for Harmon Brewing Company, Harmon Tap Room serves beers freshly made in the site's 15 barrels, contenting barley-hungry palates with year-round ales and seasonal brews. Both beer enthusiasts and infrequent drinkers will approve of Harmon's frosty selection of pints ($4.50), featuring the Great American Beer Festival–winning Brown's Point ESB. Hops habitués with something to prove can dive into the Point Defiance IPA, while those who drink beers as light as a cloud of Peeps can stick to the easy-drinking Mt. Takhoma Blonde Ale. Stay to sample hearty pub grub from the Tap House's menu. Pizza cravers may find satisfaction in the veggie-friendly Locally Green pizza ($14), topped with an ambrosial amalgamation of basil pesto, herb potato, caramelized onion, and feta cheese.
The restaurant's cuisine unites European cuisine with local flair, successfully recreating the award-winning fare of Pangaea. Evening supper bells resound above a menu stocked with refreshing small plates, pastas, and entrees. Quickly quell rumblings with starting rounds of wild-rice crab cakes with shallots, red bell pepper, and a remoulade for dipping ($15) or taco salad with wild halibut cheeks on a bed of mixed greens with tangy cilantro dressing ($14). For larger hankerings, the kitchen turns out hot plates of bourbon-glazed, pan-seared wild-salmon filet with a drizzling of bourbon-lime-soy-garlic sauce ($22). Lunch is also served from 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and desserts like German chocolate cake ($6) are served all day.
Paesan Kitchen & Bar isn't huge, so it would be pretty impossible to miss the custom-built, wood-fired oven that smokes seductively on the side of the dining room. Every day, cooks extract perfectly charred Neapolitan-style pies from this commanding fixture, their bubbling gluten-free or regular crusts strewn with gourmet toppings such as salmon belly, fontina cheese, and artichoke hearts. In the few months since Paesan (a sister restaurant to the adjacent Social Bar & Grill) opened, the pancetta and pear has emerged as an early favorite; its crispy-yet-chewy dough boasts layers of caramelized onions, arugula, gorgonzola, and fresh garlic oil. The menu also includes a few appetizers, such as Washington Sweet Bay oysters (which come fire-baked, of course), and a caprese salad seasoned with sea salt.
Throughout the day, guests can also swing by to practice their chair-sitting skills as they sip on painstakingly crafted beverages. In the morning, sunlight pours into glass pots of Mad Hat chai tea brewing right on the bar while, nearby, baristas recreate the leaves fluttering outside onto the tops of lattes brewed from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters' beans. In the evening, coffee cups are swapped for rocks glasses as bartenders begin mixing up signature cocktails such as an Italian Sunset: Creme de Cassis poured over muddled grapes and topped with a champagne float. In keeping with the Italian vibe, the wine selection features many Italian varietals, and Peroni takes top billing on the draft beer list.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.