Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger—the Whopper sandwich—consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
When Brian Toska and his daughter Susannah opened Buca Pizza Pub, they had family in mind. In a feature for the Telegraph, Brian explains his theory: "Kids love pizza, and we thought that would be a great way to bring them here.” He concocts an eclectic selection of pied-piper tunes and specialty pizzas to do just that, including the Chicago-style pie with italian beef, onion, and hot and sweet peppers, as well as the pizza greco with spinach, feta, and olive oil. In addition to pizza, servers also transport plates loaded with spaghetti, lasagna, and Italian sandwiches to famished families.
Twin City's Restaurant epitomizes a classic Midwestern restaurant, with local owners, a menu of home-cooked American favorites, and country-style breakfasts served from dawn until dusk. After the morning breakfast crowd dines on pancakes, biscuits, and gravy, a lunch buffet of freshly made specials snakes across the dining room. At dinner, classic American steaks and chops meet with eclectic, internationally inspired entrees that range from Mediterranean–style chicken to burgers.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies, all grilled to order. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches.
For dessert, Pita Pit serves eight rotating varieties of Dannon YoCream frozen yogurt, which guests can mix and combine into their own flavor combinations. Instead of coming from a powdered mix, kosher-approved YoCream is made from live and active yogurt cultures that can aid in digestion. Nonfat YoCream varieties carry an average of 100 calories per half-cup, while tart and sorbet flavors stand ready to tempt a wide range of palates.
Wooden shelves bear the weight of wine bottles behind the wraparound bar at Erato Wine Bar and Restaurant. Bartenders climb a wooden ladder to retrieve a 2006 Louis Latour pinot noir or a 2009 PlumpJack merlot, reading the labels in the dim light of hanging lamps. Around them, laughter bounces off the exposed bricks and spring-soled shoes bounce off the dark-wood floors. Yet the boutique selection of wine isn't the only thing that draws guests in. The bar also hosts high-end spirits such as St. Germain and an international selection of beers. The kitchen, meanwhile, complements this array of libations with tapas-style delicacies that change weekly. Cheese plates come with cured meats, nuts, and fresh fruits, and local ingredients enhance delicacies such as caprese salad. Chefs also whip up meal-size portions of pasta and seafood drizzled with truffle oil and sherry reductions.
With its precisely trimmed hedges, red-brick façade, and quartet of shuttered windows, Grace Manor Restaurant looks less like an eatery than a private home. Inside, chef and owner Debra Grace keeps up the pretense, serving hearty helpings of upscale comfort fare such as gravy-soaked buttermilk biscuits and rosemary-sprinkled mac 'n' cheese. Entrees such as porterhouse steaks, asparagus-and-mushroom ravioli, and peppers stuffed with quinoa round out the dinner selection. Not only the menus, but the interior paint and local artwork on the walls change with the seasons as Debra concocts new dishes from locally grown produce, meats, and dairy.