At Dk's Place, staff members fill a family-friendly arcade environment with engaging, age-appropriate activities for children as well as adults. In addition to air-hockey tables and skee-ball machines, video games challenge patrons to test their dancing, driving, or zombie-chasing skills, occasionally rewarding them with tickets. Although many of the prize counter's gifts and novelties can be purchased with a single ticket, guests can also opt to save up for premium awards, including lava lamps and plush animals stuffed with dodo feathers.
As guests perfect their hand-eye coordination in the arcade, chef Gregorio Oviedo tosses and bakes pizzas back in the kitchen. Layering crusts with salami, artichoke hearts, and 16 other toppings, he creates signature pies such as the barbecue chicken and the hawaiian, or allows diners to design their own.
For nearly two decades, the chefs at Ludy's Main St. BBQ and Catering have perfected their recipes for slow-smoked meats, fresh fries and slaw, and handcrafted barbecue sauce. For proteins that are tender yet full of robust flavor, slabs of beef, pork, and baby-back ribs smoke slow and low for six hours before being plated with hand-cut fries and sides such as barbecue beans or potato salad. Smoked prime rib is served as a special on Friday and Saturday evenings and arrives with fresh coleslaw, fries, and cornbread with honey butter.
Inside, customers chow on plates amidst 100-year-old salvaged barn wood and Western knick-knacks. Those who take grub outside enjoy the spot voted Best Patio in Yolo County, complete with a brick fireplace, water wheel, and babbling brook where many a penny have learned to swim.
It’s hard to miss the The Elephant Shack’s bright orange and green exterior painted with pachyderms. The mammoth beasts also decorate the interior of the eye-catching sandwich shop, raising their trunks in virtually every form imaginable: as statuettes, stuffed animals, coin banks, and a much prized hat signifying the winner of their monthly free-lunch contest. The victor might dig into a classic sandwich, such as a french dip or turkey and bacon club, or opt for clam chowder served in a bread bowl. The kitchen also serves breakfast all day long, sating bacon-and-egg fanatics and guests who never remember to change their clocks.
Maria’s Cantina cultivates a comfortable, homey feel from its implementation of Old-World recipes to its use of fresh, organic ingredients from nearby farms. The accommodating staff treats its customers like extended family, inviting them to lounge at sleek wooden tables as they sup on painstakingly prepared tacos, sip top-shelf margaritas, or leaf through the chef’s grandparents’ wedding album.
When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item—which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"—to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson’s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic Drive-In didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic Drive-In specializes in made-to-order American classics, including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades. Sonic Drive-In’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.