More than 15 microbrews pour from the taps at Old Town Pizzeria, where pints sidle up to pizzas topped with gourmet ingredients ranging from truffle oil and artichoke hearts to linguica and grilled chicken. The flavors of Rubicon IPA and Scrimshaw Pilsner play well with the nuances found within the Garlic Blues’ blue cheese, roasted garlic, onions, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. The pizzeria also stocks a brawny selection of meats for use in pizzas such as the No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn, whose combination of mozzarella, ricotta, house-made meatballs, and basil is palatable to both beasts and boys. Hearty salads, hot wings, and breadsticks help round out the menu.
Some people define comfort food as a favorite dish that Mom or Grandma used to make. Others associate comfort with foods that are traditionally eaten during happy times—such as Thanksgiving or John Philip Sousa's birthday. Savory Fried Chicken invites diners to explore comfort food of the Filipino persuasion. The eatery's cooks prepare Filipino-style chicken, which is either grilled or unbattered, fried, and served with gravy. Sides of pork lumpia rolls and pancit noodles complete plates.
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.
When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item?which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"?to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson?s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
At Elk Grove Sports Bar & Grill, classic American pub grub takes center stage, but live entertainers try to steal the spotlight nearly every night. Diners can groove to live blues music while noshing on half-pound burgers and chili-cheese fries, or they can down pastrami sandwiches and cobb salads while catching the big game on TV. On the weekend, early risers dig into creative breakfast dishes such as pork chop omelets, and night owls feast their eyes on standup comedians and karaoke performers.
Super Taco Mexican Restaurants serves a variety of south-of-the-border flavors, which is more than its name may imply. Within their menu, diners can find a variety of tortilla-shelled eats such as beef tostadas and chicken flautas, or seafood selections such as camarones rancheros. Dinner plates featuring rice, beans, and salad paired with fajitas, enchiladas, or chile verde bestow diners with a wealth of Mexican items in one sitting.