Taste Creative Cuisine entertains eardrums and taste buds at the same time by presenting a menu full of contemporary twists on classic Southern cooking and regular sets of live jazz. Like carving a family chicken dinner with a laser-knife, the food roster modernizes mainstays of country-style dining. Fried chicken rests atop sweet-potato waffles, creamy aioli garnishes Cajun catfish sandwiches, and artichoke butter sauce adds flavor to cornmeal-breaded walleye pike. Handcrafted cocktails complement the Louisiana-fusion fare, as muted jazz trumpets, wailing saxophones, and standup comics keep audiences dancing and laughing into the night.
TJ Chumps' menu supplies sports fans with hearty helpings of amped-up bar food in an atmosphere appropriate for family WWF viewings. Whet a peckish palate with the buffalo shrimp ($7.50), five jumbo shrimp slathered in honey barbecue, Caribbean jerk, or hot wing sauce, before scaling the strata of the southwest turkey sandwich ($7.95), a sedimentary selection of smoky turkey, pepper jack, and lettuce with house-made chipotle mayo. Where disc-shaped fare is concerned, the Veggie Chump pizza ($11.95/$17.95) appeases herbivores, while the beefy Reuben pizza ($10.95/$16.95) gives the boost of energy required to colorfully converse with televised sportscasters and fictional spell-casters. Entree eaters can try the choice New York strip, with maitre d'butter and house-made smashed potatoes ($19.95), or the sushi-grade salmon dinner, with rice, broccoli, and a dollop of tartar sauce ($15.95).
Since 1954, dough-sculpting artisans at LaRosa’s have crafted a menu of delectable Italian specialties using heaps of fresh ingredients and a family recipe. An array of tasty pies awaits hungry visitors, from the double pepperoni ($5.99–$14.99) to the buffalo chicken, which entertains a devoted entourage of black olives, tomatoes, and jalapeños ($6.79–$19.99). Customers can also hire toppings for freelance work on pizzas of their own creation ($4.79–$12.99 plus toppings). Shy meats and veggies hide inside calzones, such as the Philly cheesesteak calzone, which provides a toasted cavern of shelter for sirloin, white cheddar, onions, and stray cheese ($5.99). In addition, LaRosa’s boasts a spectrum of hoagys, salads, and pasta and offers a sweet adieu to finished meals with a dessert of Italian crème cake ($4.89) or cinnamon-sugar dippers ($3.99).
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Though unheard of by many Americans, in Colombia, arepas are an everyday treat. Arepas & Co brings these savory, slightly sweet cornmeal patties to the American masses via the restaurant's diverse and authentic menu. Step up to the Colombian-flag-colored front counter and choose your arepa's fillings from a selection of marinated, slow-roasted meats, cheese, or black beans and plantains, along with four house-made sauces, such as creamy garlic mayo. Another specialty is the Colombian street-food staple known as mazorca, sweet roasted corn the chefs top with meat, cheese, crushed potato chips, and a choice of sauces. Crisp corn empanadas enfold stuffings neatly, and Colombian platters highlight the gourmet flavors without the corn, unlike Iron Chef's laugh track.