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.
Dixie Grill and Bar's uniquely embellished interior dons vintage trinkets and memorabilia for diners to feast their eyes on as they delve into a menu of classic American eats. Couples can jumpstart gustatory glands by sharing an appetizer of deep-fried mozzarella served with house-made marinara sauce ($7.95). Muting belly bellows more effectively than a swiftly thrown leather shoe, the grilled cheeseburger wedges a half-pound of Angus beef slathered in barbecue sauce, onion straws, bacon, and cheddar cheese between two grilled cheese sandwiches ($11.95). Thaw out a frozen palate with the spicy fire burger smothered in jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, and an optional coating of house-made fire sauce ($9.95). The Jack Daniels sauce chicken entree wins over tasters with two grilled chicken breasts slathered in a signature whiskey glaze ($13.95), while the Key West shrimp sports a fresh coat of crispy-sweet coconut batter ($14.95).
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.
Resplendent with variety and bustling with flavor combinations, Belle and Maxwell’s dinner menu brandishes an array of Italian-inspired bistro plates. Tasty flatbreads ($12) crane under the weight of delectable toppings, such as truffle oil and roasted garlic baked into a layer of goat cheese. The lemony, linguine-shielding chicken piccata ($16) inspires elegantly indulgent fork-pirouettes, and the specialty turkey meatloaf ($13), similar to an ex-celebrity in a karaoke bar, demands libation tribute from the bountiful drink menu. Afternoon appetites can salivate over the lunch menu, replete with roast-beef-and-brie-stuffed baguette sandwiches ($11) and a curried chicken salad laid over a bed of mixed greens ($11). To punctuate digestion, foodies can wander in the romantic, leafy patio, try out an English accent in the tearoom, or run laps around the nearest houseboat.