When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal?it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile?s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During dinners at the famous burger joints, you?ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers?dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they?ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.
The culinary artisans at Giano’s Italian Deli masterfully douse succulent meats and fresh veggies in house-made sauces and dressings to populate a menu teeming with hearty sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas. Diners step up to the counter to place their order or receive a mystical fortune-telling, as a sandwichsmith constructs a lineup of 12 phalange-fillers including the house-made chicken salad sandwich ($4.99) or the robust muffuletta ($4.99/6”; $9.99 for 12”), which showcases a trifecta of ham, salami, and provolone smothered with fresh olive salad ($4.99). Created on-site from scratch, marinara sauce covers Italian pasta plumes, including five-layer lasagna made from fresh ground beef, ricotta, provolone, and mozzarella ($8.99) or gooey cheese ravioli ($7.29). Meat abstainers can thrive on vegetarian options such as eggplant parmesan topped with marinara and provolone ($8.49) or a 12-inch Veggie Lovers pizza ($13.99), perfect for sharing with culinary comrades or practicing python impressions by engulfing it in one bite.
At Izzo's Illegal Burrito, diners celebrate the freedom to build their own burritos, quesadillas, and salads. Burrito construction begins with a choice of four tortillas, which hug juicy additions such as pork carnitas, skirt steak, and picadillo-style ground beef. Layers of beans and mexican rice supply extra protein and flavor, and blankets of homemade queso keep meat warm during lengthy games of pickle. A selection of more than 20 veggies and sauces—including jalapeño peppers and ancho barbecue sauce—swathe roll-ups in tastes that range from smoky sweet to super piquant. Guests seeking a lighter meal can decorate salads, tacos, and quesadillas with toppings such as grilled shrimp, marinated chicken breasts, or fresh pico de gallo. To spice up parties and meetings, the restaurant's catering department stocks roll-your-own-fajita bars with tortillas, guacamole, and roasted-tomato salsa.
Founded in Harahan, Louisiana, by a trio of restaurateur pals in 1997, Zea Rotisserie & Grill champions the tastes of the American South across its 11 locations. Barbecued ribs and étouffée join the restaurant's signature rotisserie entrees, which slow-roast chicken, rib eye, and a rotating selection of pork, veal, and beef slathered with herb glacés or au jus. A specialty menu takes Zea's roots-centric recipes even further, revisiting classic New Orleans meals of pasta jambalaya, fried catfish with remoulade, and battered Mardi Gras beads. Zea Rotisserie & Grill also caters special events.
From vine-ripened tomatoes to juicy strawberries to sunny marigolds, Farm House of Homewood–affiliated with The Alabama Farmers Market–fills plates with flavorful nutrients and gardens with colorful flowers in their ongoing quest to bring local produce to the people. Because of its commitment to selling high-quality produce, James Beard award-winning chef Chris Hastings has used Farm House okra at his eatery, Hot and Hot Fish Club. Whenever possible, the family behind Farm House makes sure their produce is fresh, crisp, and local. They demonstrate their dedication to the community by donating to Jessie's Place, a shelter for battered women and children. They also curb wastefulness by not throwing away produce or forgetting it in the attic.
Each morning, the family staff at JoJo’s Diner on Broadway grinds fresh Black Angus beef into quarter-pound patties and prepares breakfast sausage. They also create their salads, desserts, and backyard spacecraft from scratch. From 7 a.m.–3 p.m., hungry passersby can stop in for the sausages and simultaneously served breakfast and lunch staples, including eggs, pancakes, burgers, and hot dogs.