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.
Tabletop candles cast a mild glow around Cafe Allegro's quaint dining space, where authentic Italian pastas, sandwiches, and hearth-baked pizzas convey the restaurant's 15 years of culinary mastery in every mouthful. Cream sauces, marsala marinara, meats, and fresh vegetables top a latticework of traditional pastas, and calzones swell with myriad ingredients and pride at no longer taking a back seat to pizza. Glasses full of Italian wines reflect the twinkling bulbs that frame the bistro's windows, and a banquet room with an outdoor patio hosts festive events.
The chefs at Lucky Bistro cull fresh ingredients to form an extensive menu of Chinese meat, seafood, and vegetarian favorites, including 38 varieties of dim sum. Diners sink into cushy booths or circle around group tables as tabletop hot pots simmer meat and noodles in curries and other flavorful broths. They also sauté fried rice with chicken and salted fish, heat savory porridges to just-right temperatures, and gussy up tofu and eggplant with sampan and other regional spices.
Bellagios Pizza, locally owned and operated since 1996, brews ripe batches of tomato sauce and tosses fresh disks of dough daily at their Wilsonville location, while crews at each restaurant sprinkle pies with delicious toppings to create a menu loaded with pizzas, grinders, and calzones. Heaps of spinach, artichokes, and juicy tomatoes guide wandering bellies out of the desert with the Oasis pizza ($10–$19.99), while the Butcher Block throws a crust-top party of salami, pepperoni, canadian bacon, and italian sausage ($10–$19.99), coming together in hearty harmony like a chorus of lumberjacks. Diners interested in a wider variety of toppings or in teaching children about medieval class structure can opt for a pie cleanly divided down the middle, such as a half-cheese, half-pepperoni pizza ($8–$17.99). Slathered with pizza sauce and adorned with meaty toppings, the Bellagio grinder ($5.99) competes with a host of calzones ($10.99) for the silver medal to the pizza menu's gold.
Dr. Cynthia Gulick received her board certification for family practice medicine in 1990. But since then, her focus has grown from primary care to also include medical bariatrics, which was one of the inspirations behind opening of Oregon Medical Weight Loss & Wellness. There, she and her staff give each patient an alternative to weight-loss surgery or turning their home into a multi-room sauna. That program includes body-composition analyses, gym access, nutritional counseling, vitamin B12 injections, and weigh-ins with the center's support team. Equally important as those services is the mentality that Dr. Gulick and her team bring to the table. Instead of obsessing over inch loss, they focus on finding the reasons their patients are gaining and retaining weight to help them keep it off in the long run.
Though tamales are a staple of Mexican cuisine, they span a range of flavors and textures depending on who makes them. The Tamale House’s owners, Tony and Magdalena Jump, hold the keys to some of the category’s finest, earning second- and third-place standings at the national Best Darn Tamale Contest in 2011. They fill their tamales’ masa shells with ingredients such as pork sautéed in a green or red sauce, pork spiced with the house’s barbecue sauce, or a vegetarian-friendly combo of cheese and jalapeños.
Though the tamales have garnered national awards, regulars know that the rest of the menu is nothing to skim over. Every morning, Grandma Jump creates a limited number of chilies rellenos that sell out like hotcakes dipped in gold. The staff also fills freshly pressed tortillas with a range of traditional meats to create items such as chorizo-and-egg tacos, carne asada burritos, and cheese enchiladas.