Perkins began as a single humble Ohio pancake house in 1958. More than 50 years––and 440 national locations––later, each Perkins restaurant stays true to its roots by keeping those signature buttermilk pancakes the focal point of a 90-plus-item menu. Cooks layer the popular flapjacks in stacks of two, three, or even five and make the fluffy towers all the more tempting with toppings such as glazed strawberries, whipped cream, or flavored syrups. Breakfast favorites—including hearty omelets and country benedicts—are served all day, meaning kids and adults can order short stacks to accompany their jumbo-shrimp or steak dinner, instead of smuggling them in under a stovepipe hat. Unlike most other chain restaurants, Perkins also features in-store bakeries that churn out the shop's real fruit and cream pies, muffins, and chocolate-chip cookies.
In some respects, Kelley's Cafe feels like a genuine Irish pub. Guinness is a draft staple, and it even works its way into some of the main courses. But for every shepherd's pie on the menu, there's also a hearty plate of chili nachos or Southern-inspired macaroni and cheese. And the bar is even more welcoming than the menu, with plush stools, mosaic-inlaid tables, and plenty of TVs for watching the big game or C-SPAN debate.
Ritter's Frozen Custard satisfies sweet teeth with a menu of more than 90 rotating custard flavors and an array of sundaes, shakes, and smoothies. A Glacier, a custard cup served upside down to demonstrate its thickness, sends gustatory explorers trekking through a candied landscape studded with myriad toppings including nuts, fruit, and candy ($5.82 for a regular). Besides classic treats, such as banana splits ($6.49 for a regular) and milk shakes ($4.55 for a regular), the custard counter whips up decadent specialty blends including the Mud sundae ($5.82 for a regular), a mélange of chocolate custard, syrup, crushed Oreos, and a plop of real marshmallow that makes mouths feel richer than eating Scrooge McDuck à l'orange.
Frequent diners at Qdoba come for the eatery’s signature flavors, but they may not know how far the staff travels to obtain them. Qdoba’s staff visits various parts of Mexico on a regular basis in search of flavor combinations that later enhance the shop’s burritos, quesadillas, and taco salads. Among these blends are ancho-chili barbecue, gumbo accented with cilantro rice, and the three-cheese queso, a creation that took 47 tries to perfect. Along with sought-after flavors, Qdoba’s staff members pride themselves on their painstaking preparation of fresh ingredients, from fire-roasted tomatoes to mouth-watering poblano peppers.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.