The tingle of Nioxin shampoo on the scalp. The comforting heat of Campbell's lather. The gentle, yet exhilarating scrape of a straight razor against the face's contours. At GoodFella's Barbershop, financier John Young and barber Jeremy Forshee immerse guests in old-fashioned care along with an Italian mob–inspired theme. The co-owners let their love of vintage barbering and gangster films shine through across the shop's two levels, whose walls bear black-and-white mobster photos and exposed-brick details, and whose wood-grain workstations provide ideal backdrops for mustache-flexing competitions.
Services take guests on treks from traditional shampoo bowls to leather-bound swivel chairs, where verbal consultations help barbers to understand each client's desired look. Lather and steaming towels prepare skin for traditional shaves, and complimentary water bottles slake midsession thirst. Each station also features its own air compressor, whose hoses gently sweep fallen hair from even the most staticky polar-bear costume.
When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.
A dining destination since 1950, Howley's Restaurant's extensive, eclectic menu of sandwiches, seafood, and American classics has hurdled it to local fame. Teams of diners set off on hunger-quelling quests equipped with salad or appetizers, such as crab cakes scuttling across a shore of field greens and fresh berries, or a spinach-and-goat-cheese salad flush with crisp apples and candied walnuts. Table conversation dwindles as diners train mouths on main-course entrees, including the beef brisket, surrounded by braised vegetables and mashed potatoes for a trifecta more winning than placing a bet on a thoroughbred horse in a drag race. The Baha blackened-ahi-tuna tacos blanket sushi-fresh ahi in corn-tortilla quilts, and a half-pound Black Angus burger dons fashionable toppings and cheese accessories. Diners chase food shots with a soda or tea from the drink menu.
When Blue Front BBQ first opened its doors in 1964, founder Norris Nelson didn't have much experience in the business world?but he did have plenty of practice cooking barbecue with his dad, as well as a dynamite family barbecue sauce recipe. Visitors soon flocked to Blue Front BBQ for the St. Louis-style ribs, slow-smoked chicken, and zesty sauce, which became so popular that Norris opened a bottling company across the street to keep up with demand from customers and thirsty plates of pulled pork. At Blue Front BBQ, old-school country cuisine meets an eclectic blend of contemporary American cooking, with racks of ribs, hot chicken wings, and slabs of cornbread served alongside truffle-oil fries, gorgonzola salads, and tempura-battered fish.
The chefs at Moran’s Italian Burger Bistro build each burger from the ground up by hand according to blueprints laid out by each customer. Diners decorate a range of patties, from fresh ground beef to portobello mushroom to alligator, with their choice of cheese and rich sauces, including bacon béarnaise and lemon-caper aioli. More convenient than keeping a dragon on retainer, Moran's brick oven crisps the dough on specialty pizzas, such as the margherita with fresh basil and mozzarella, and personalized pies made with a choice of crust, sauce, and toppings that include spicy salami, roasted fennel, and pork belly.
Two walls of windows fill the dining room with bright rays of natural light. The Tuscan ambience is highlighted by a stone-framed counter and distressed-wood tables reminiscent of an Old World tavern or the apartment Romulus and Remus shared before building Rome.
The Jamaican-born family members who own and operate Big Taste Caribbean Restaurant have created a visual and culinary oasis reminiscent of their native island and its neighbors. Basking in the vivid rays of a wall-length mural of a smiling red-and-orange sun, chefs craft small batches of traditional oxtail with plantains along with their own recipes for signature jerk sauce and curried shrimp. The aromas of chicken grilled over an open flame and Fridays' yard-style fish fries invite passersby to experience the cooking of the tropics. As day sets into night, cues clink on the golden pool table and a ceiling fan lazily goads the air into circles simulating a Caribbean breeze or a coconut's whispered plea to be turned into a piña colada. Live DJs and dance performances occasionally sway the straws sticking out of a Jamaican Red Stripe lager to the beat of reggae, hip-hop, and dancehall music.