The recipes at l'Italia Restaurant and Bar date back hundreds of years, first created by the peasant and merchant families in Italy. The dishes include land and sea proteins, local produce, and even a peppering of flavors from other cultures. Chefs encase tilapia in an egg batter and simmer the filets in white wine and lemon juice, and pair balsamic glazed-grilled beef medallions with noodles covered in gorgonzola-alfredo sauce. Guests can also customize their own pasta dishes, with two-handfuls of pasta options and 14 sauces that add up to such combinations as cheese ravioli with vodka sauce or gluten-free penne under a ladle of basil pesto. The eatery also honors Italy with murals of historical landmarks that include the Colosseum,Vatican City, and Michelangelo's favorite Pizza Hut.
The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.
Around the brand new confines of 250 Sports Grill, grass-green countertops, ornamental football helmets, and dark wood accents recall a well-maintained football field, and 18 large flat-screen TVs––one for every 100 square feet of space—keep guests entertained. The bar may be a new kid on the block, still celebrating its grand opening, but its commitment to pairing classic pub eats with the thrill of athletic competition is decidedly tried and true. Some days, the eatery will even open as early as 6 a.m. to catch live international events such as the British Open, the World Cup, and the European yodeling showdown. Inside 250's kitchen, chefs serve up Florida Gator fried-alligator bites, full racks of sauce-slathered ribs, and hearty half-pound burgers with Angus beef and fresh bison. If they dare, diners also may attempt the 250 Burger Challenge, wherein they must down a 2.5-pound burger and a side of fries in less than 20 minutes.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
Park Lane Tavern mimics the feel of European taverns inside and out, from an exterior that pays homage to London taverns to interior furnishings directly imported from Europe. Like a hot dog curtseying to the queen, the menu blends American staples with traditions from across the pond, juxtaposing steaks and club sandwiches with shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips. Behind a gleaming handcrafted bar, bartenders dole out pints of the tavern's more than 24 beers on tap and pour glasses of wine, single-malt scotches, and small-batch bourbons.
Beyond the Green Indoor Golf & Sportsbar grants players the chance to play a round at a virtual recreation of a famous course with its high-definition golf simulator and refuel with pub-style fare. Playing partners set off without need for a cart and smack real golf balls into a highly realistic image of their chosen course. The screen captures each stroke's distance and spin rate and analyzes the mechanics of the player's swing to identify the causes of any undesired results. The onsite grille's lunch and dinner menus refuel golfers with Chicago–style hot dogs and sourdough sandwiches, which are much more satisfying than their virtual counterpart—bananas stolen from unsuspecting Donkey Kongs.