Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Since 2000, historic downtown Waukesha's House of Guinness has maintained the convivial atmosphere of a pub located in the Irish countryside. Inside, bartenders serve microbrews and handcrafted beers alongside classic European imports such as Franziskaner, Guinness, and Strongbow. They also stock many Irish spirits, including a 12-year Tullamore Dew Black Bush and an 18-year Jameson that goes down smoother than a bowling ball in a bobsleigh track. Traditional bar food, including pizzas and pasties, accompany the pours, which guests can savor while watching the game or tapping their toes along to live Irish music.
Featuring a culinary team that boasts training in kitchens from Italy to New York, D Mo's Pasta & Chop House stimulates salivary glands with an alluring array of Italian-American dishes. From their perch atop dark-chocolate-leather chairs, dinnertime diners can staunch growing hunger tides with orders of crispy fritto misto––calamari and shrimp with marinara ($9.50)––before plunging face-first into any number of enticing meat or pasta entrees. Unstuffed raviolis jump through hoops of spinach and ricotta to become ravioli di ricotta e spinaci ($12.50), and a steaming bowl of brodetto alla veneta––a seafood stew in a stewed tomato and pinot grigio base––treats taste buds to a grounded tour of the ocean's most popular speakeasies ($17). Hand-powered knives can hew 14-ounce New York strips ($21.95) or double-cut pork chops ($17) into bite-sized morsels before hiding them in a choice of side dish, inciting teeth-led search-and-masticate missions.
West-Mex is a cooking style and an approach to service at Taco John’s. The menu is stacked with bold-flavored twists on Tex-Mex standards and Taco John's staff is committed to service and community. Greenhorn customers are howdied in by fresh corn chips bathed in nacho cheese ($1.69) while the crispy taco ($1.19) sets a familiar tone with its simple layers of cheese, lettuce, seasoned beef, and déjà vu proclivity. Insulated in cheese and a soft tortilla, the stuffed grilled-beef taco ($2.59) transfers its heat to bellies while the golden beauty of potato olés nestles highly classified seasonings throughout elegant nugget rounds (small $1.69, large $2.29). Taco John’s meals are made fresh to order, like instant strawberry patches and mom’s apple pie.
Pacific Bistro leads diners through a whirlwind tour of Asia with a menu loaded with hibachi, sushi, and traditional Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Chinese dishes. Begin Eastward adventures by pairing a crab rangoon ($7) starter or edamame ($4) with a libation from the full bar and a field trip permission slip signed by the president. Once tummies are prepped, diners can choose their own adventure with a la carte sushi ($4–$8 for two pieces) or hand the reins to a licensed knife wielder for a carefully diced teriyaki chicken hibachi dinner ($18). Or furnish tables with sumptuous entrees such as pad thai noodles ($12 for chicken, pork, or beef; $14 for shrimp), crispy duck ($25), and mango curry ($14 for chicken, pork, or beef; $16 for shrimp). Meanwhile, diapered diners can use highchairs as a launching pad for launching shrimp tempura ($8) grenades and tossing fried rice ($6–$7) confetti at newlywed birds.