An oasis of barbecue goodness off Highway 25, the bright red roof of Huntin Camp BBQ and Grill draws drivers' attention to the restaurant. Among wood-paneled walls, taxidermy animals, and local sports memorabilia, diners tuck into meals of homestyle ribs, wings, steaks, and burgers. Lunch and supper buffets present a chance to sample a little bit of everything, like heaping portions of sides such as hush puppies, baked beans, and sweet potatoes.
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.
Tom Engel burst onto the culinary scene in 1977 when he opened Richards Cafe and Little Richards. Now, in his eponymous house of barbecue, he draws on more than 30 years of culinary experience to roast brisket, chicken, and carolina pork shoulder, drawing out their natural flavors with one of nine sauces. These savory potions—which range from sweet and mild to spicy to Cheerwine sauce—sizzle on the grill, punching up a menu that overflows with homestyle treats such as hush puppies, meaty barbecue baked potatoes, and saucy ribs. Tom's BBQ also deliver catered Southern feasts to parties, special events, and straw houses to send their residents a stern message.
The multitalented chefs at Sakura Japanese Steakhouse emphasize quality ingredients and artful presentation in each and every dish. The traditional Japanese dining room features a central hibachi grill that sears vegetables, steak, and seafood in an inferno of sizzling oils and bright yellow flames. Sakura’s more coolheaded sushi chefs swirl hand and specialty rolls—crafted from shrimp tempura, softshell crab, and salmon—behind chilled cases of fresh fish. Indecisive diners can request omakase meals, assortments of seasonal dishes handpicked by the chef to showcase culinary skill and an ability to match meals to wallpaper swatches.
Owner Lazaro Montoto maintains a healthy diet, and doesn't believe in sacrificing flavor to do so. That's why he opened Tropical Grille as an alternative to the nation’s preponderance of greasy fast-food dives. Natural light pours from wall-length windows onto his steaming grill, where the smell of sizzling chicken and steamed veggies mingle with the aromatic release of Lazaro's flavor-packed spice rubs. He puts those blends to good use; in addition to spicing up the grill, they also infuse his signature pork, which marinates for 12 hours before taking a trip to the slow-roaster for inclusion in thick sandwiches and hearty wraps.