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."
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.
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.
Scrawled across the Yogeez wall in big, loopy letters are the words "Get Creative." This isn't a difficult imperative to follow, seeing as how each of the store's welcoming locations offers a huge assortment of more than 75 toppings to pair with rotating low-fat and fat-free yogurt flavors. Shards of waffle cone and splatters of hot fudge complement perennial favorites such as cake batter, dreamy dark chocolate, and sea-salt caramel. There are always a few fat-free sorbets on tap, as well, making it easy to get your daily fruit allowance.
Just like at family gatherings, diners gather at long, rectangular tables and wait for their hosts to serve dinner. Unlike family gatherings, however, a flame suddenly bursts forth from the table’s built-in grill, where standing cooks sauté seafood, chicken, beef, and vegetables. Such is the scene at Chef Honda Restaurant, where a row of these hibachi tables fill a dining room accented with earth tones. In addition to traditional grilled entrees, the cooks prepare specials such as spicy-tuna carpaccio and seared maki rolls.