Only the boldest, hungriest diners dare take on A&G Burger Joint’s Creature Burger—a gigantic tower of meats, toppings, and pickles weighing in at more than four pounds. But if these intrepid eaters can polish off the hefty burger—along with a pound of fries—they are rewarded with a t-shirt, plaque, and $20 gift card.
The Creature Burger is the brainchild of chef Alex Parra, who also extends his culinary expertise to a variety of more diminutive burgers. Deep in his kitchen, the skilled chef showers Angus beef patties with imaginative toppings, such as housemade barbecue sauce, fried egg, and roasted poblano peppers. Alex invites guests to invent their own burgers from a selection of five different buns, patties, cheeses, and sauces, encouraging them to come up with a name, back-story, and favorite Beatles song for their original creations—such as “Mustard-Yellow Submarine”. Out in the retro dining room, glasses of craft brews clink over plates of truffle fries between black-and-white walls speckled with old-fashioned pin-up artwork.
What originally began as a modest shop in the back of a home in Santiago de Cali has morphed into Sandwich Qbano, a sandwich chain with locations across Colombia and Florida. The eatery churns out wraps, salads, and sandwiches such as the italiano, the teriyaki, and the classic cuban.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Shula's 347 Grill is named in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, the winningest Coach in NFL history, with 347 victories! Shula's 347 Grill follows a long line of successful restaurants, all founded on the same famous tradition of Shula's Steak Houses.
Splitsville explores contemporary consumption within a bowling framework, combining swankiness with three bars, and a full-service restaurant. Splitsville’s menu, developed under the guidance of one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of 2008 Tim Cushman, stacks up and knocks down a cadre of ville plates ($5–$14) including spicy edamame and three-pepper calamari, stomach-stuffing signature plates ($14–$19) including the mahi mahi with voodoo shrimp and filet mignon, and big bowl drinks ($21) including the rum bowl and voodoo juice bowl. Diners sprinkle the restaurant with chatter as they dive into their choice of sauced steaks, generous pizzas, and rolls from the on-site sushi bar to the musical vibrations blowing from the speakers. After 8 p.m., all diners younger than 21 turn into pumpkin-shaped bowling balls and the fine hobby-sport decorum requests an evening-casual dress code as the crowd usurps the restaurant’s reins for nocturnal nourishment with energetic music.
Old Lisbon brings the cuisine of Portugal to Miami, saving diners a 3,400-plus-mile trans-Atlantic swim and complicated lessons on how Portuguese grammar uses mesoclisis. The estrela of Old Lisbon's menu is the classic Portuguese dish of bacalhau, or codfish, and the restaurant features several variations on it—including grilled bacalhau with steamed potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and onions ($19.95) and deep-fried bacalhau flanked by shrimp, mashed potatoes, and a creamy garlic sauce ($20.95). For diners who love seafood but hate fish for stealing their boyfriend, Old Lisbon offers other oceanic entrees, such as a fresh seafood and fish stew served with steamed potatoes ($22.95) and a seafood rice for two with lobster, New Zealand clams, New Zealand mussels, squid, and shrimp ($44.95). Old Lisbon draws from the lay of the land as well, with meat dishes and vegetarian dishes. The Delicia de Fatima dessert tops egg-yolk custard with cookie crumbles and cream to create a sweet treat with the untested ability to distort the space-time continuum, while Old Lisbon's extensive selection of wines offers definitive proof that, despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, grapes aren't inherently evil.