Sturdy, huge, and basking in the warmth of candles suspended overhead, the community table inside Mia Cucina's Powell outpost is an apt metaphor for the community that frequents the restaurant. At both locations, a sense of hospitality vies with the aromas of house sauces to charm those who walk through the doors. Children—who dine gratis on Mondays and Wednesdays—peruse a specialized menu with mazes and games, absorbing trivia about Italy's climate, its inventions, and the volcanoes that spew marinara sauce. Adults scan their own menu, which embraces Italian staples along with more updated plates, from chicken parmesan to pesto-rubbed mahi-mahi fillets.
When they aren't browsing the cuisine, their eyes might linger on the shelves of the floating bar, where wine bottles and glasses levitate over the counter instead of bogarting the chairs. The surrounding wall mimics gray stonework, adding a rustic cellar ambiance to the setting, though the white cloths draped over each table bespeak modern sophistication. The murmur of conversations between families, friends, and couples pervades the genial space, where Mia Cucina insists "everyone's Italian."
The staff at Gee Willikers New York Style Deli assembles classic deli sandwiches and East Coast deli staples exactly as tradition demands—by hand. Start with an ultra-classic option such as the slightly absurd Richie's Ridiculous Reuben, which is served on rye with lean corned beef or pastrami, melted swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and homemade thousand-island dressing ($9.99). Soaked in italian dressing, The Italian Stallion charges straight down throats with a cavalcade of spicy meats, mozzarella cheese, and zesty italian vegetables ($7.99), while Gee Willikers's take on the cheesesteak hides in a hoagie roll, waiting to invade sleeping mouths with meat, onions, banana peppers, and american cheese ($7.99). Tongues can also tune up their tasters with matzah ball soup ($3.99), potato knish ($2.99), and cheese blintz ($1.99/each or $4.99/for three).
Q2 Bistro's menu of Cantonese-inspired dishes features family-developed recipes as well as flavor combinations hand-me-downed from the master chefs of China. Wake up your taste buds with spicy salty calamari ($6.95) and walnut shrimp ($6.95), or put a crabby tummy growl to rest with an appetizer platter of two crab rangoons, two spring rolls, and two egg rolls ($7.50). After taking down these edible opponents one at a time with flying forks of fury, entrust your taste buds to the man in charge by trying a chef specialty such as the Mongolian trio (tiger shrimp, beef, and chicken sautéed with white and green onions in a spicy Mongolian sauce, $11.25) or spicy pineapple fried rice ($10.55). Q2 also boasts a wide selection of signature rice pots, including the hoisin duo with tofu (tender slices of beef and chicken sautéed with tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, $10.95), goncho beef with green beans (wok-flashed beef stir fry with green beans, $10.75), and eggplant with minced pork (served in a spicy Szechwan sauce, $10.55). For a more traditional standby, opt for a plate of kong pao chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp ($8.95–$9.95).
Catering to dessert-starved people of all lifestyles, the dessert crafters at Josie's Yogurt create mouthwatering flavors with health-conscious ingredients. Using pure crystalline fructose, a fruit-based sugar with a low glycemic index, allows the sweets stirrers to tempt palates without using traditional sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, cookbook cutouts of turkeys, or other unhealthful additives. Josie's offers many flavors that rotate through stores in groups of 12; Georgia peach swirls into cups with the ease of a southern drawl, and chocolate mousse allows customers to savor the pleasure of sampling a rich dessert without the guilt of having to steal the dessert cart. Regular, low-calorie, and sugar- and lactose-free options regularly dot the menu, filling bowls before being covered with selections from the 36 topping options and five sauces.
Yabo's Tacos showcases a menu to satisfy a range of appetites at both of its lively locations. A Baja-style menu dazzles palates with an array of fresh, made-from-scratch plates, including flavorful combinations of burritos, tacos, wraps and salads. Kid-friendly choices, fresh baked desserts, and specialty margaritas from the cantina round out meals. While dining, guests may watch their favorite sporting event on one of Yabo's many large-screen televisions. The buzz of a fun, festive atmosphere beckons families to partake in game-day outings or family dinners.
When the sun cracks through the night sky, the chefs are already busy at The Best Breakfast and Sandwiches. They pop biscuits into the oven and stir pots of country gravy. Customizable omelets are stuffed with each customer’s choice of meats, cheeses, and veggies. Lunchtime hours find the grills and stoves lit for slabs of chicken or reuben sandwiches featuring in-house corned beef. Chefs also mix their own chicken and tuna salads, which are tucked into sandwiches or ladled atop salads.