Its hard to tell if the halo around Vicki and Rick Bolsoms brick-walled landmark at the corner of West End and 32nd Avenues is a reflection of the fireplace just inside the front door, or if the seasonal repertoire of creative comfort food is simply glowing. The oft-changing menu turns up gems like spinach salad with fried egg, house-made sausage with fusilli, and catfish pomme de terre with braised red and green cabbages. Dont expect calling cards such as Angel Louie and the Med salad to be falling off the menu anytime soontheyre as much of a tradition as drinks by the fireplace on a wintry night. — Carrington Fox
Housed in a strip mall with a check-cashing place, Taki offers an unexpectedly serene atmosphere with a sleek Asian-themed decor with warm woods and a reliable menu of sushi and Thai food. Sushi rolls are generous and fresh. Miso soup is soothing and salty. Salmon teryiaki is good enough you might not feel like sharing. — Brent Rolen
The wordy name of this joint says it all. Buckets of cold long-neck beers are the preferred beverage to wash down the "Southern urban cuisine" here. A favorite refueling spot for weekend Harley riders, the bar is also a popular after-work hangout for music-bizzers. Featured dishes include South Street's famous smoked ribs, smoked pumped chicken and Carolina crab cakes. The second-story treehouse bar is indeed nestled in the branches of a large tree, a favorite not-so-secret clubhouse that's not for members only. Curbside pick-up available.
At lunch, there’s not an empty chair in the 70-seat house. In the evenings, the lights dim, and Midtown embraces couples who frequently choose it for a romantic evening or celebratory occasion. The food—modest, unpretentious, but consistently well executed—doesn’t complicate but but always enhances the visit. Owner Randy Rayburn, who splits his time between here, Sunset Grill and Cabana, keeps his legendary sharp eye, and it shows in the attentive but never overbearing service. Martini lovers swear by the ones made at this small non-smoking bar. Reservations suggested.
Nightlife impresario Ben Goldbergs speakeasy is an unexpected legacy for Governor Malcolm R. Patterson, who pledged to support the temperance movement but ultimately vetoed restrictions to sell alcohol in the state in 1909. By elevating cocktails to the level of cuisineputting Demon Rum on a pedestalPatterson House encourages the slow sipping and appreciation of well-mixed drinks. With at least three vest-clad bartenders serving 30 guests at the bar, the staff appears to have limitless attention for every patron. That's important, because you'll want to ask a lot of questions. For example: What is in all those tiny apothecary-style brown bottles with the eyedroppers? (House-made bitters.) Why are you cracking an egg into my drink? (To make it frothy.) And what, in the name of all that is salt-cured, is a bacon Old Fashioned? All that sipping needs some sop, and Patterson House delivers a sturdy, playful roster of snacks, along the lines of deep-fried sweetbreads, fig-and-prosciutto flatbread and The Elvisa sandwich of peanut butter, bananas and bacon.
Corned beef on rye. Whitefish. Latkes. Knishes. Chopped liver. Noodle pudding. Food just like mama used to make, if your mama was Mrs. Lowenstein, or Mrs. Seinfeld. Noshville isn’t just a clever play on words—“nosh” is Yiddish for “eat”—it’s a genuine New York-style delicatessen featuring 6-inch-high sandwiches and classic Jewish comfort food in a casual, cosmopolitan diner setup. Two locations.
Situated in a refurbished Victorian home, Monell’s is not your typical meat-and-three, but more like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. It’s served the same way, around communal tables with big bowls of fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, green beans, yeast rolls and corn bread, all passed family-style. Wash it down with pitchers of sweet tea and finish up with a slice of fudge pie.
This 250-seat restaurant in the 12 South neighborhood has a state-of-the-art pizza oven with a dining bar looking right into the kitchen; the large outdoor patio has its own separate bar. The menu offers a dozen specialty pizzas and pizza by the slice, supplemented by appetizers, salads, pastas and sandwiches. Two-for-Tuesday, an all-night happy hour with food specials, packs the joint, the patio and all nearby parking with the young, the restless and the Harley’d.
Cop a squat on the grass along Woodland Street, where residents--with canines and kids in tow--flock to the mustard-yellow VW minibus-turned-mobile-kitchen for hot dogs of the all-beef and tofu varieties. Bring your own lawnchair or borrow a picnic blanket and watch the bustle of Five Points. You won't be alone.
Gina Butler's brother stood in line for an hour-and-a-half at New York's Magnolia Bakery and was disappointed not to get a cupcake any better than his family could make. So sister Gina pulled out the family recipes and launched Gigi's, serving coffee and a roster of specialty cupcakes such as Coconut Snowballs, Lemon Dream Supremes and Tiger Tails for $3 a frosted pop.
Housed in the renovated former baggage building of Union Station, this Texas import has plenty to choose from, proudly boasting about 75 beers on tap and an additional 130 bottled selections from around the world. An enclosed large porch offers a comfy ambiance, and the huge main dining room is reminiscent of a Texas hill country beer hall, with vaguely Germanic leanings on the menu: sausage and cheese platters, thick beer cheese soup and a selection of brats.
Pleasant surroundings set a warm stage for a meal you might have at your grandmother’s house, if her recipes included chili-lime mussels, hummus and mojo shrimp. Owner Julie Buhler Freeman cooks from scratch, with some subtle Southwestern, Cajun and Mediterranean influences. There are several options for dining, including a weekday lunch buffet, early-bird dinner specials, all-you-can-eat prime rib on Saturday evenings, and Sunday brunch. Live jazz is featured every night, beginning at 6:30 pm.
Standard pub grub throughout the week, with pre-game Kegs & Eggs buffet on Sundays.
The revamped Capitol Grille in the nearly century-old Hermitage Hotel pays homage to the South by incorporating locally grown and regional products into rich, earthy dishes like pork chop with sweet potatoes, black-eyed pea hash and creamy Anson Mill grits. Have an after-dinner drink in the adjoining Oak Bar, and be sure to check out the famous mens room, no matter what gender you are.