Chefs at Family Back Creek Deli & Gifts stir pots of baked-potato soup and spread their signature chicken salad between slices of bread each day. The restaurant has a rustic, homey atmosphere with exposed-brick-wall accents and decorative birdhouses, along with a gift area teeming with olive oils, jams, and greeting cards.
At Uncle Vinny's NY Pizza, cooks decorate New York–style pizza crusts with nearly two dozen toppings that range from pepperoni and buffalo chicken to veggies such as broccoli and fresh tomatoes. But before layering on hearty ingredients, they can prep the crust with garlic and ricotta cheese or a drizzle of hot oil—a house signature. Alternatively, the toppings can join more classic marinara sauce or be tucked inside of a calzone or glove compartment before a road trip. After ordering pizza, hero sandwiches, or baked lasagna at the counter, guests can lounge at one of the tables dressed in a red-and-white checkered cloth or take their food to go.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
Before Duffy’s Restaurant even opens for the day, the chefs are already busy, slicing potatoes that will be transformed into crispy french fries and kneading dough that will bloom into fluffy dinner rolls. Staple breakfast items such as french toast and omelets are served all day, offering a hearty meal after a night of feeding bats in a dark park. The waiters also serves up heaping portions of chicken-fried steak, roast beef, and pork chops.
Though Lasamee Xiong and her husband Thoa have owned restaurants in Minnesota, Michigan, and Oklahoma, their native land will always be Thailand, according to Tulsa World. With their son Saya at the kitchen's helm, they continue to serve up their homeland's cuisine in the quaint 30-person dining room at Thai Garden. Although Thai fare is the primary focus, the 30-item menu also includes Vietnamese and Chinese selections—many accentuated by spices and herbs directly from Thailand.
To the soft rhythms of Southeast Asian music, green and maroon laminate tables populate with steaming soups, traditional pad thai, and chicken and beef in sweet curry and sichuan sauces. Though fork and knife are the primary utensils at Thai Garden, chopsticks are also available upon request.