Considering Juan and Alvaro Gorrin studied medicine and business, and went on to forge careers in real estate and banking, it's probably surprising to many that they found their ultimate success in a totally unrelated field: baking. The Gorrins, who were born in Spain but moved to Venezuela in their youth, found there was a demand for European-inspired baked goods in South America. They developed the Don Pan brand in Venezuela in 1982, and eventually relocated to Miami, where they opened their first North American bakery in 1995.
Today, their menu maintains distinctly Spanish and South American accents. A bounty of pastries includes guava danish and tres leches, as well as brazo gitano, a sponge cake rolled with chocolate or cream that's popular in both Spain and Venezuela, as well as the section of Canada that uses cake as currency. There are also plenty of savory menu items, including cachapas—corn pancakes served with meat or cheese—and Venezuelan-style tamales bursting with pork, beef, chicken, and veggies.
Each Cosi locale aims to channel the charm of a small Parisian café by serving up a menu of quality food and an atmosphere suited for conversation. Warm stone-oven-baked flatbreads feature a two-millenia-old recipe and lay the foundation for many of Cosi's sandwiches and pizzas. The clean flavors of the signature tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwich ($5.99) find a rustic home within warm, crusty walls and the saucy star of the barbecue-chicken pizza ($12.99) travels to mouths with an entourage of smoked gouda, red onion, and cilantro trained in grappling grabby tablemates. Veggie-based bites include the crunchy steak-house salad ($7.79) coated in blue-cheese dressing and fresh-cracked pepper.
The roaring of virtual racecars inside the arcade mingles with cheers from crowds of restaurant patrons watching NFL games and pay-per-view UFC events. Clusters of wooden tables and red booths seat diners gaping up at 35 flat-screen TVs, listening to live music, or staging productions of Beckett plays with salt and pepper shakers. A variety of 10-ounce burgers, zesty wings, and other hearty American dishes arrive on tables alongside frosty brews in bottles or pint glasses.
At On Q Smokehouse Grill, diners could build an actual food pyramid representing all five food groups with menu items such as the fried green tomatoes, pulled pork sandwich, walnut chicken salad, and mac and cheese. Combo dinners plate two or three meats next to a pair of sides, such as coleslaw and sweet potato fries, while the smoked mullet dinner refuels brain tanks with healthy omega-3s that power the lightbulb above your head. The drink list quenches thirst and loosens ties with premium and domestic beers on draft and by the bottle, as well as wine by the glass.