Towering above the already-imposing 14-screen multiplex of Hoyts West Nursery Cinemas 14 is a luminescent globe encircled by a giant strip of film. It’s a sign of the theater’s mission to create an all-encompassing movie experience. Stadium seating inside every theater gives even the littlest family members undisturbed views of new releases, and digital sound systems broadcast musical numbers, high-tech explosions, and intercom requests to share your Skittles in crystal clarity. At the snack bar, traditional concessions are supplemented by made-to-order Uno pizzas.
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.
Winner of four dining Awards for 2009 in Howard Magazine, including Best Bar Food and Best Late Night Dining, Victoria Gastro Pub puts a gourmet spin on traditional pub cuisine. Chef Joe Krywucki’s menu draws on fresh, seasonal ingredients—including herbs grown right outside the restaurant—to hit diners with a flavor tornado, providing a mix of comfort and creativity. Begin with the Duck-Fat Fries, which can be served by the bucket, alongside the Roasted Garlic Aioli ($7), or partnered with their duck confit, gruyere cheese, and duck gravy to make poutine ($8 small, $12 large). More substantial fare includes the official sandwich of Flemish royalty, Lobster Grilled Cheese ($16), a duo of beef that pairs braised beef short rib with a petite filet and cheddar potato gratin and broccolini ($19), as well as the "Mushroom & Swiss" Snake River Farms Kobe burger with gruyere cheese and caramelized onions, and served with smoked paprika fries ($13, $15 with truffle cheese).