As mixed drinks and frosty brews get to know each other on Phil's Bar & Grill's weathered wooden bar, the steam of fresh-to-order pub fare scuttles up its vaulted ceiling. The cozy dive seats roughly 75 people, with additional standing room suited for chest bumping after a big play shines down from wall-mounted TVs. Patrons can two-hand hearty sandwiches or sate omelet and gravy longings with a menu of all-day breakfast options. And with live weekend entertainment and daily all-you-can-eat specials, Phil's encourages lingering among all visitors, not just the regular who rents out the janitor's closet as a studio apartment.
Twin City's Restaurant epitomizes a classic Midwestern restaurant, with local owners, a menu of home-cooked American favorites, and country-style breakfasts served from dawn until dusk. After the morning breakfast crowd dines on pancakes, biscuits, and gravy, a lunch buffet of freshly made specials snakes across the dining room. At dinner, classic American steaks and chops meet with eclectic, internationally inspired entrees that range from Mediterranean–style chicken to burgers.
When Brian Toska and his daughter Susannah opened Buca Pizza Pub, they had family in mind. In a feature for the Telegraph, Brian explains his theory: "Kids love pizza, and we thought that would be a great way to bring them here.” He concocts an eclectic selection of pied-piper tunes and specialty pizzas to do just that, including the Chicago-style pie with italian beef, onion, and hot and sweet peppers, as well as the pizza greco with spinach, feta, and olive oil. In addition to pizza, servers also transport plates loaded with spaghetti, lasagna, and Italian sandwiches to famished families.
To the sounds of rollicking live piano music, Ragin Cajun Piano Bar celebrates the cuisine and culture of Louisiana with a tempting menu of crayfish, bourbon-glazed steaks, juicy burgers, and spicy andouille. Bowls of crayfish étouffée in a creamy roux and chicken wings slathered in a piquant voodoo sauce evoke images of the sunny South, and an open-air balcony and a second-story patio frame stunning views of a river town that shares the Mississippi with New Orleans. On weekends, live piano players bang out popular rock and pop tunes as patrons sing and dance along, contrasting with somber weekday lectures on the differences between English common law and Napoleonic code.
With its precisely trimmed hedges, red-brick façade, and quartet of shuttered windows, Grace Manor Restaurant looks less like an eatery than a private home. Inside, chef and owner Debra Grace keeps up the pretense, serving hearty helpings of upscale comfort fare such as gravy-soaked buttermilk biscuits and rosemary-sprinkled mac 'n' cheese. Entrees such as porterhouse steaks, asparagus-and-mushroom ravioli, and peppers stuffed with quinoa round out the dinner selection. Not only the menus, but the interior paint and local artwork on the walls change with the seasons as Debra concocts new dishes from locally grown produce, meats, and dairy.