Swimsuit-clad servers tote the platters of juicy Angus beef burgers, spicy chicken wings, and deep-fried appetizers that populate Bikinis' menu across a slick industrial loft setting. Beer-battered jalapeño slices splash in golden paradises of oil, emerging with a crisp, brown exterior and lengthy slideshows of flavor ($6.99). A hoagie bun serves as a fluffy landing zone for the loads of shredded sirloin steak, peppers, and onions that crash onto the philly steak and cheese sandwich beneath a hole-filled swiss-cheese parachute ($8.99). The Cowboy BBQ burger's half-pound Angus beef patty charges into town on a sesame-bun steed with a barbecue-sauce-and-cheddar saddle ($8.99), flaunting Wild West flavor more exciting than a high-stakes tumbleweed race.
Like its minimalist interior, this historic Oliver House eatery keeps its menu simple. Peckish patrons can sample light, freshly made offerings of warm soups, salads, and sandwiches, complemented by a rotating list of daily specials ($5.50−$7.50). Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Café's warm and cold sandwiches, such as the grilled-ham-and-cheese Croque Monsieur ($7.50) and the tangy-tuna Waldorf-salad sandwich ($7.25) rest contentedly on black-checkered tissue paper before meeting their delectable demise. Assuage appetites in the Café’s sleek, minimalist dining room amid tasteful artwork and warm brick accents, then retire to the breezy courtyard to season postmeal sips with fresh sunshine. Guests can sip on café au laits while they browse the web via the complimentary WiFi, or mime coffee-drinking and internet searching to the customers around them.
More than a few local legends swirl around Dublin cheesemonger Pat Hyland, better known as Paddy Jack. One tale has him traveling more than more than 1,000 miles to retrieve a cow that had been carried off by a tornado?no mean feat when one considers the rarity of tornadoes in Ireland and the fact that the island's only 250 miles from Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay. Another tells of him hiding the recipes to his finest cheeses in a cave beneath Dublin, possibly just below the Temple Bar market where he sold them for 10 years.
Paddy Jack's strives to match Hyland's passion for quality, exemplified by his phrase: ?People can taste the effort you put in.? That effort can be tasted in the establishment's more than 20 stuffed grilled-cheese sandwiches. The Memphis Mac is the chef's favorite, lined as it is with pulled pork and topped with mac and cheese. But the Loco Jack makes it a contest with its splash of special sauce and hidden depths of crushed Doritos. Running throughout all the sandwiches, however, are cheeses that could stand with the best produced by Hyland on Co Laois, his farm in Cuffsboro.
Since 1865, mariners have dined, relaxed, and mingled in the elegant confines of Toledo Yacht Club. Trophy cases and nautical memorabilia fill the current masonry clubhouse––built in 1908––where chefs treat members and guests to upscale feasts in a formal dining room and casual meals beside the Den Bar’s fireplace and large-screen television. Upstairs, guests dance across a third-floor ballroom during the Commodore’s Ball, one of the club’s many annual events, which also include the prestigious New Year's Eve Champagne Celebration and a family-friendly brunch with Santa.
Outside, tennis, basketball, and shuffleboard courts share space on a massive lawn where tetherballs whip around tall poles and children climb over playground equipment. Members share meals at a sheltered, secluded picnic area, take a dip in the swimming pool, or cast off on a journey down the Maumee River. For longer jaunts, members can contact one of Toledo Yacht Club’s affiliations, which grant access to numerous clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Large, hungry groups don’t intimidate the chefs at The Grape Leaf Express. In true family-style tradition, these culinary heavyweights can whip up massive plates, called Party Pleasers, to satisfy up to seven visitors per serving with housemade hummus, tabbouleh, grape leaves, falafel, kebabs, or shawarma. Whether furnishing a banquet or a simple meal for two, the chefs carefully prepare Lebanese staples in addition to other Mediterranean dishes, such as pita sandwiches and lamb chops.
The restaurant's Liquid Health Bar menu upholds the same commitment to freshness with blended fruit smoothies, several of which derive a sweet kick from a smattering of honey. After guests finish their meals, they can order a dessert of baklava or housemade cheesecake and recline on a scarlet-cushioned booth to let their eyes wander across a luminous purple aquarium, decorative bamboo shoots, and scenes of Greek monuments.
The Wetzel name wasn?t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, ?Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!? on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel?s Pretzels. After years in Nestle?s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick?s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel?s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalape?os.