Amid rich woodwork and four big-screen TVs, 800 West treats taste buds to savory steaks, scrumptious sandwiches, and seafood. Customers can commence consumption with the 800 West shrimp, tender prawns tossed in a spicy cream sauce ($10.29), before applying paws to a hearty handheld such as the grilled-barbecue-chicken-ranch sandwich ($9.29). Dive fork-first into the blackened mahi-mahi with pineapple salsa for a taste of the tropics ($14.99), or opt for the 7-ounce char-grilled filet mignon served with onion strings and maitre d' butter if you only eat fish born as cheesy crackers or 7-ounce filet mignons ($23.99). The six-cheese purse pasta—little pockets stuffed with sundried tomatoes, spinach, and garlic and blanketed with parmesan cream sauce—sates herbaceous bellies and pastaterian pandas ($10.99). To rinse down solids, patrons can saddle up to the full-service bar and sip a glass of wine ($7–$12), a beer ($3–$5), or a martini ($9–$10).
Mécénat Bistro and Gathering Place's menu is stocked full of seasonal American specialties. Guests can pair truffle fries, marinated skirt steak, or creamy crab and lobster risotto with one of 70 varietals on the bistro’s wine list. Domestic craft beers also span the menu, accentuating flavors in seasonal specialties such as the pan-seared duck breast with braised red cabbage or the sautéed potato gnocchi with organic mushrooms.
Dips & Dogs swings open its doors seven days a week to on-the-move munchers from lunch hour until late in the evening. Succulent wafts of chili-coated fries, cheesy hot dogs, and freshly grilled burgers escape from the snack stand onto Garfield Street, luring passersby in to browse a menu of eats more American than an apple pie sliced by Hulk Hogan. Outside, a patio hosts meals and games of bags throughout the summer.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
With its dark-wood storefront facing old-fashioned street lamps and the upstanding lines of the brick train station across the street, Chequers falls right into line with the village feel of downtown LaGrange. Once inside, however, it's clear that the village the pub means to evoke is somewhere deep within England: beer-battered fish and chips sizzle from the kitchen, Newcastle foams from the taps, and in back stands a red phone booth rumored to have birthed Dr. Who, Queen Elizabeth, and Winston Churchill on the same cold, gray day. On chilly nights, fireplaces burn in both the dining room and the English garden, where up to 50 carousers can gather around the 50-inch plasma TV.
Even before the food arrives, El Picante Mexican Grill transports diners south of the border with its bright yellow walls, multicolored tablecloths, and colorful murals depicting Mexican life. Then, guests dig into homestyle eats, such as enchiladas with three different sauces, housemade guacamole, and poblano peppers stuffed with seafood and doused in mole sauce. Even the mezcal is authentic—it's made in Mexico and comes with an agave worm, instead of a piece of spaghetti.