Meet Betty

The Evolution of Betty

The Idea
It started with a simple conversation, “Central needs a truck,” and ended with an icon of Central Realty funkiness. Although almost any truck would have done the job, most just are not funky enough to join the Central team. So, as a secret surprise for the office, the search began for something funky.

The Hunt
Several somewhat funky trucks were found, examined, and rejected; they were clearly not funky enough. One day a 1965 VW truck from Florida was found. It was exactly what Central was looking for. The owners of the truck had been looking for a caring home for the VW and were soon convinced that Central was that home. So the truck was shipped to St. Louis.

The Evolution
The truck was christened Betty shortly after her arrival in St. Louis. The truck was named after Bob Horn’s mother Betty Horn who gave Central its own name. The announcement of Betty’s arrival was news to the Central Office. The project had been top secret for months, and the office was surprised to hear about her. There was even some doubt as to her existence. Eventually, everyone was convinced that she really did exist, and she really was funky enough to join the Central team.
Betty had a long life before she came to Central and was in need of some TLC after 43 years of funkiness. Betty started in San Francisco after leaving the VW plant. Later she moved to Hawaii and then to Florida. She had seen many owners and much of the country before she finally arrived in St. Louis. She was ready for a makeover, and that’s exactly what Central gave her. She was sent to the mechanic for a full check up and some new parts. Then we sent her off to have some body work done, a new coat of paint, and finished the job with the one and only Central logo.
With a new look and a fresh start, Betty is ready to roam the streets and turn some heads along the way. Keep your eyes open; you never know when Betty will be in your area!






Funky Little Eats

Anybody can visit a town, an area or a location.  At Central Realty we pride ourselves on getting to know each and every one of the communities we serve.  A local restaurant often is the best place to learn a towns history and culture. Here are some of the favorites we have become acquainted with in our 25 years of travelling the midwest!

Missouri

Cowan's Restaurant

114 elm street
washington mo 63090

If you’re looking for great food and great service with a down home vibe to fill your appetite, look no further than Cowan’s Restaurant in Washington, MO.  Owned and operated by Jerry Cowan, Cowan’s has been in business for nearly 30 years and has managed to make its mark as one of the premier restaurants in Washington.

Although, Cowan’s was renamed in 1977, the history of the restaurant goes back to 1932 when it was established as Mealer’s.  In 1972, John Callin purchased Mealer’s.  A short 5 years later, he sold the restaurant to Jerry Cowan who turned Mealer’s into the well known restaurant it is today.  Cowan’s is known best for their pies, but also their fried chicken.  The busiest times are Saturday and Sunday mornings for breakfast.  After many years of doing business with seating capacity for 80, Cowan’s added another dining hall to their establishment which increased the seating capacity to 200.

Shortly after the expansion and the ever growing popularity of Cowan’s, a reality make over show, Town Home, remolded Cowan’s.  With a new remodel and a bigger dining facility, Cowan’s was growing and word of their world renowned pies was spreading.  Business was great and soon the area began to expand making the competition a little stiffer for Cowan’s.  Despite the ever growing economy in the area, Cowan’s remains competitive and offers great food at great prices.

If you’re ever in Washington, MO, take the time to stop by Cowan’s and get yourself a slice of the pie.  We also recommend the sweet corn nuggets.  They are delicious!

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Lewis Cafe

145 S. Main Street
St. Clair, MO 63077

Located just off Highway 44 in St. Clair, MO, Lewis Cafe is a business built on tradition and family. Established in 1938 by Virgil Lewis, built through hard work and great service, Lewis Cafe has continued to rely on these principles through the years.

In 1973 Fred (Virgil’s nephew) and Marie Short bought the restaurant, and in keeping with the traditions started by Virgil, Fred and Marie worked tirelessly to make Lewis Cafe a place of great food and great service, all the while raising 4 sons, who all worked in the restaurant.

Chris Short, Fred and Marie’s son, bought the restaurant in 1995. He is now married to Tracie Short. They too, are bringing up their children to work in the restaurant. The Angus beef is raised on their farm, fattened in their own feed lots, processed right at Lewis Cafe and kept fresh until served to their customers.

Lewis Cafe has maintained 2 generations worth of traditions and strives to serve the best quality food, with the best quality service. Best known for their home raised Angus beef and all day breakfast menu, Lewis Cafe is one of Missouri’s well renowned restaurants and well worth the pit stop.

Goody Goody Diner

5900 natural bridge
st. louis mo 63120

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Gee..I wonder what chicken and waffles taste like together?” Well you no longer have to ponder over the greatness that is chicken and waffles! Goody Goody Diner offers everything you could ever want under one roof. Goody has a great story behind it. What’s that? You want to know more! Well look no further than below and enjoy the great history that is Goody Goody!

Connelly’s Goody Goody had its beginning during the dark days of the Depression. The site on Natural Bridge was originally the home of the very-first walk-up “A and W” root beer stand in 1931. To this day, you can still “get that frosty mug sensation” here. As the automotive industry flourished in the 1940s and Americans hit the road in masses, stay-at-home dining was out, and the “Drive In” became the new sensation. In 1948, Cecil Thompson transformed the old “A and W” root beer stand into the Goody Goody Drive In. In its infancy, the new diner only seated a mere 38 hungry customers. Hungry St. Louisans could pull into Goody Goody 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and receive the best curb service in town. Parents would drive to the restaurant while their children expressed their delight and excitement by chanting “goody goody” in anticipation of a tasty treat. That’s how we got our name. Benny Goodman and Helen Ward even popularized the Mercer song “Goody Goody” in the early 1930s. By that time, the Goody Goody Drive-In was a well known institution in our town.

Herb and Viola Connelly made it an even bigger hit in 1954. Goody Goody became the place to “cruise”. Many notable neighborhood businesses popped up during the 50s and 60s. Many may still remember the Mel Rose Pizzeria, Ed’s White Front BBQ, Sam the Watermelon Man and the Thunderbird Drive-in, but the Goody Goody was the “in” place. Energetic carhops would deliver your made-to-order meal on a metal “window” tray. Who would have thought the youngest carhop on the staff would someday become the owner.

Herb Connelly’s brother, Ray, came to work at Goody Goody in 1956 as the manager of the night shift. Ray worked here until 1968 when he moved to Florida and opened his own restaurant. Ray is now 84 and living with his wife Ann in Orlando. The Diner has not always been just breakfast and lunch. From 1948 till 1977 the Diner was open for all three meals; seven days a week.

In the late 60s, Richard Connelly purchased the popular diner from his parents, Herb and Viola. During that turbulent and quickly changing era, St. Louis was changing, as was the rest of America. Herb and Viola retired and several nearby family food establishments moved away. It would have been the end of the Goody Goody Diner as well, but in 1981, Richard and his wife, Laura made a renewed commitment to the restaurant and the neighborhood. They began operating the business under the Connelly family name. From that day forward the diner has been “Connelly’s Goody Goody Diner”.

Major renovation took place throughout the 1980s. By 1990, the diner was able to serve 110 customers. Many other new features were added to bring the restaurant into the era. New coolers, a second story storage space and the entire appearance both inside and outside was completely modernized. Goody Goody now has the capacity to serve large groups, accommodate breakfast meetings, and provide box lunches. It would be an understatement to say Richard is dedicated to this landmark restaurant. After all, it is the only job he has ever had! Richard’s ongoing presence, and the help and support of his wife, Laura, and a dedicated staff are keys to the diner’s lasting success.

The Goody Goody Diner has proudly reached a milestone that only a handful of restaurants have achieved: Our 58th year of business. Our outstanding reputation has led local as well as national magazines to feature Goody Goody as a place where the food is good and the service comes with a smile. The Goody Goody Diner is one of the few St. Louis eateries listed in the nationally published book Eat Your Way Across the USA, and Road Food. We are grateful to the many “regulars” who have faithfully frequented the diner on a daily basis, and are proud to say that many celebrities, sports personalities, and politicians including former Vice President Al Gore have also had the Goody Goody experience.

Even though much may have changed at Goody Goody over the years, some things will always remain the same. Simplicity, freshness and value will never be compromised. We are not “fast” food, just good food as fast as possible.

Goody Goody Diner hopes to keep offering St. Louis, and it’s visitors from around the world, made-to-order specialties and modern versions of popular items, while we maintain the “stand-by” diner items. We will always be committed to the tradition of Goody Goody: Providing home-cooked meals at modest prices, served by pleasant and loyal employees. Our staff is one of the best in St. Louis. We will continue to be a positive representative of North St. Louis City as well as strive to meet the needs of both the residents and the businesses in our community. Hopefully by providing a friendly family atmosphere, we will get to know you personally.

We would love to have you as a “regular”. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,
Richard and Laura Connelly

source “www.goodygoodydiner.com”

Woofie's

1919 woodson road
overland, mo 63114

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed Sun.

In the mood for a good hot dog? Well we have just the place for you! Woofie’s is a local landmark in the greater St. Louis area (located just west of 170 off of Page Avenue and Woodson Road). Known for such greats as The Big Herm, Woofie’s offers a great variety of different types of “dogs”. It is one of the few places in the area where you can get an actual Chicago Dog.

Woofie’s shouldn’t really be considered a restaurant per se, but more of a glorified hot dog stand. They only have room to sit around 15-20 people, and that’s a tight room, but they do have a drive-thru so getting a good hot dog has never been easier! You will see a lot of history in the walls of ole’ Woofie’s. There are a plethera of autographed potriats from many great St. Louis athletes and actors / actresses that give Woofie’s a wonderful historic vibe.

If you are ever craving a great, nay…legendary hot dog, then stop by Woofie’s!

Crusoe's

3152 osceola street
st. louis, mo 63111

The Original Crusoe’s located off of Osceola and Compton has been serving South St. Louis City for over 30 years! They recently added an Irish pub to back dubbed Patrick Mckeanes (which has been named after the owner). Crusoe’s has been a local hotspot for many years. They offer quality service to go along with a fantastic menu! No matter what you are craving, Crusoe’s probably has it on the menu. Ranging anywhere from pasta to burgers to great salads and soups, Crusoe’s has it all.

If you are really hungry, they have a nice little challenge called the “BAB (big a** burger) Burger” challenge. It is a 40 oz. hamburger grilled to perfection. You have to sign a release waiver just to eat it! It is $30.00 so it you definitely pay for the food, but it comes with a heaping amount of fries. You have to eat it all and if you are left standing, you will receive a shirt and a name on the wall of fame!

If you are looking for something more than a burger, they also have a great variety of dinner platters and they also serve breakfast on Sundays. Crusoe’s has it all! So do yourself a favor, and drop in for a very fulfilling bite!

Pappy's Smoke House

3106 olive street
st. louis, mo 63103

Hours: Mon – Sat 11-8
Sunday 11-4Let’s get one thing clear right of the gate, Pappy’s knows BBQ! The moment you walk in, your nose is enticed with the smell of delicious ribs and fried corn on the cob (don’t judge, it’s incredible!). Don’t let the long line dishearten you, it is well worth the 10-30 min wait (depends on the line). The inside has a great indoor picnic feel with the wooden base walls and picnic tables drapped in the ever so familiar red and white checkered table cloths. You instantly get that great comfortable feeling of knowing that know one will judge you if you choose to get the full slab of ribs instead of the half. ;)Just know, there is one rule when it comes to the ribs at Pappy’s…do not add any sauce! Believe me when I say this, you will not need it! The rub on these ribs is incredible. Why ruin it with BBQ sauce? If you absolutely have to have it, they have 3 different sauces for you to sample on the perfectly smoked ribs. The ribs aren’t the only thing delicious in this quaint little joint. They also offer some of the most delicious smoked pork known to man. If you are feeling like you need some chicken in your life, they give you a leg the size of an infant! Where do they find such big chickens? I digress.If you are ever getting the craving for some delicious BBQ and happen to be in the downtown St. Louis area, look no further than Pappy’s Smoke House. Oh, if you are feeling like you can eat a horse, see if you can take on “The Adam Bomb” as made famous by Adam Richman from Man vs. Food. Six pounds of food! Do you dare? Let us know if you do and take some pictures!PappysSmokeHouse.com

White Knight Diner

1801 olive blvd
st. louis, mo 63103

White Knight Diner didn’t always sport the name it does today. It used to be called Super Sandwhich Shop (originally a Courtesy Diner), but later changed it’s name when The White Palace, which starred Susan Sarandon and James Spader, shot scenes for it’s movie there. Moving on, White Knight Diner offers what we like to call comfort food. Feeling a craving a nice, thick, juicy greasy burger? White Knight has you covered. They also serve breakfast until 10:30 am, but offer lunch and breakfast all day on Saturdays. They also make some delicious patty melts if you are into that sort of thing.

The greatest part of the White Knight is the fact that they have customer creations on their menu! Now that is awesome! If you are familiar with the St. Louis area, then you have possibly tried the “slinger”. Well they have a customer creation called the “Super Slinger”. This consits of hash browns, onions layered with cheese, a hamburger patty and 2 eggs topped off with chili. Now that’s a dish! The White Knight has a great classic diner feel to it, but be warned it is pretty small so if they are busy it might be hard to find a seat. This is a definite must try if you are in the downtown area.

Iron Barley

5510 virginia ave
st. louis, mo 63111

Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm
Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Sundays – ClosedIron Barley has quickly become one of the best places to eat in St. Louis over the past few years. It has gained so much notoriety that Man vs Food from the Food Network stopped in for a quick bite. Owner/Head Chef Tom Coghill has been a chef at several well known establishments in the St. Louis area. His unique dishes not only compliment your tastebuds, but they also compliment your taste for something different and new. Tom is also a well known “homebrewer”; so needless to say he has certain brews that work well with certain meals. Also, to be warned, the sides are set special with each entree so don’t expect an easy change on sides.Iron Barley has some dishes that stand out above the rest. For instance, the Monte Christo dog is one of the best mixtures of sweet and salty you will ever find and it makes for a perfect appetizer if you have more than two people in your party. Another standout and well known dish is the oak roasted pork. Let’s be honest though, there is probably not a bad meal on the entire menu. If you ever find yourself in the Southside of town, make sure you stop at Iron Barley. It is right off of Highway 55 so it is easy to get to. Check out their website for more info!www.ironbarley.com

Roper's Ribs

6929 west florissant ave
st. louis, mo 63136

Monday thru Thursday 12 – 9 pm
Friday and Saturday 12 – 10 pm
Closed SundayRoper’s Ribs is an overlooked staple for excellent BBQ in the greater St. Louis area. In a town that covets the likes of Pappy’s Smokehouse (which is delicious), sometimes people turn a blind eye to the lesser known BBQ joints and they shouldn’t! Roper’s has some of the best BBQ we here at Central have ever had! Winners of more than a dozen BBQ awards, Roper’s should be a go to destination for any lover of grilled meats. Their homemade BBQ sauce is the perfect compliment to all of their main attractions. By far, the biggest standouts are the ribs and the brisket. The ribs are cooked to a perfect “fall off the bone” degree and the brisket remains juicy while others are sometimes dry.This is a must stop place if you are ever in the area. Like Crown Candy Kitchen, this is a place you need to go out of your way to visit. When you get there, let them know that Central Realty sent you and if you have four people ask for the “Travelers Special”. You won’t regret it. For more info, check out their website listed below.
www.ropersribs.com

Chuck-a-Burger

9025 st. charles rock rd.
st. john, mo 63114

Chuck-A-Burger has been the top St. Louis cruisin’ spot since 1957! They once had several location all throughout the St. Louis area, but have since gone down to just a single location. Located just west of I-170 on St. Charles Rock Road, Chuck-A-Burger is still one of the best places to just roll up in a 1965 Volkswagen Truck (gotta show some love for Betty!) and enjoy a delicious burger. Rolling into to the parking lot you are instantly filled with history and for some nostalgia. They offer more than just burgers, but why would you get anything else?

The service is extremely friendly and also very fast. A bit of advice though, these are quarter pound burgers so you will want to double up or you may leave hungry. For more great stories and a very cool history on the company, check out their website below.
www.chuckaburger.com

Fozzie's

1170 s big bend
st. louis, mo 63117

(314) 932-5414
Monday – Friday: 11am – 10pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 10pm
Delivery available
($10 minimum + $2 delivery fee)Fozzie’s Sandwhich Emporium is one the best and unique sandwhich shops in the greater St. Louis area. With a unique menu and homegrown ingredients, Fozzie’s stands above the rest in quality. You will definitely have to be paitient, but the trick is to call ahead. Located in an old small chinese restaurant on Big Bend, Fozzie’s has turned this once abandoned location, into a very popular lunch spot. They have very little inside seating, but several spots outside to enjoy a nice lunch. There are few sandwhiches that are must try including the following: Cheese Steak, Veggie Burger (which according to our resident vegitarian is the best in town), Big Bend Mafia, Turkey Club, The Cardiac and The Pretzel. To be honest though, everything on the menu is delicious.To compliment your meal, make sure you add their homemade chips. The parmesean chips are quite delictable. On top of all the great sandwhices, Fozzie’s also excels in quality shakes and sundaes. There may not be a lot of parking and it may be located in a small space, but don’t let that deter you from stopping at Fozzie’s. Everyone is very friendly and all have their own unique tastes that they offer to the creativeness of Fozzie’s. So what are you waiting for? Go get your grub on!www.foodatfozzies.com

Crane's Country Store

10675 old hwy 40
williamsburg, mo 63388

8AM to 6PM Mon-Sat

Crane’s Country Store is home of the “1 Meat and 1 Cheese” sandwhiches. Simple, yet surprisingly filling. Crane’s will be the first to tell you they are so much more than that. They offer so much in terms of hunting gear and clothing, but stick to a simple mantra on the food department. Crane’s is an historic staple in Missouri’s history and you should definitely check them out if you ever find yourself on HWY 70 between St. Louis and Columbia. Not much to say other than that.

www.cranes-country-store.com

BB's Lawnside

1205 e 85th street
kansas city, mo/ks 64131

816.822.7427

B.B.’s is a must go to location if you are travelling to Kanasas city for good BBQ. Their cajun style dishes are pretty tasty as well, but definitely order some ribs and pulled pork. You won’t be sorry that you did. B.B.’s is also a great place to go if you want to have a night out. What goes better with BBQ than the Blues? According to B.B. nothing. There are several great spots to go to for BBQ in KC, but make sure you experience B.B.’s while you are there.

B.B.�s Lawnside BBQ is Where BBQ Meets the Blues in Kansas City. For 20 years, B.B.’s has served slow-smoked meats (sausage, beef, chicken, pulled pork and ribs) from its 60+ year-old pit, Plus, B.B.�s menu includes signature Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice and goulash. And, when you combine that with world-class blues entertainment, you get a unique Kansas City experience only found at B.B.�s Lawnside BBQ. via bb’s website

www.bbslawnsidebbq.com

Tater Patch

103 bridgeschool rd
rolla, mo 65401

(573) 368-3111

The Tater Patch literally screams “funky little restaurant”. How many places can you go to where an entire meal is served within an enormous baked potato cooked to absolute perfection? The Tater Patch also doesn’t skimp on the portions either. I mean look at the size of those sandwhiches (pictured on the right). They also only have one sauce…their own…and it’s shared in a giant bottle so make sure you ask for it upfront. If you ever find yourself in Rolla, MO (and why wouldn’t you?), make sure you take a detour to the Tater Patch and enjoy some local offerings.

Tater Patch has been a staple in Rolla, MO for over 40 years. Joe and Linda Malva bought the establishment in 2004 and the town has raved over the fair prices, amazing food, live entertainment, karaoke, and competitive pool and dart leagues. Come check us out and see what we have to offer. via tater patch’s website

Tater Patch Website

Grassi's West

10450 german boulevard st
st. louis, mo 63131

314-994-1111

Grassi’s is definitely a place you have to go out of your way to find, but it’s so good you will want to leave breadcrumbs to make sure you find your way back. You just won’t use the breadcrumbs from Grassi’s because they are too good to waste. With a cafeteria style lunch line and quick yet friendly staff greeting you at the door, it’s the perfect place to get good quality food on the cheap and usually very quickly. Regulars mostly just walk up, say “yes” (when asked if they want a salad because everyone does), say things like “Becky Debbie” or “Terry Special” and then pay and enjoy their meal. Grassi’s is something very unique and should be enjoyed by all. To learn more about this great establishment, look no further than below and just know…they are closed on Sundays.

Its original location was on “the Hill” and served the local community from the corner of Kingshighway and Potomac. In 1976, Grassi’s opened its second location in what was then “West County” on the southwest corner of Route 66 (Lindbergh) and Conway. A few years later, Grassi’s third location was opened in the “Central West End” along Euclid.

The original location and the third location have been closed for many years. The second location has endured “the test of time” and is thriving amongst the lively “midtown” communities of � Frontenac, Creve Coeur, Olivette, Westwood, Huntleigh, and Ladue. In 1996, Grassi’s second location moved from the corner of Lindbergh Blvd and Conway to its current niche at 10450 German Blvd.

Over the past 40 years, Grassi’s has had five different owners � Frank Grassi (“the Hill”), Jerry Watts (Central West End), Vito Agnello (’76 � ’93), Glen Pariani (’93 � ’12), and Frank Dyer (’12 � present).

Grassi’s unique location has it surrounded by many of St. Louis’ most recognized private high schools � St. Joseph’s Academy, MICDS, Chaminade, Villa Duchesne, CBC, and John Burroughs. In addition, Grassi’s proudly serves the many employees of Monsanto’s World Headquarters.

Grassi’s menu is simple Italian and the service is fast. Grassi’s cafeteria style lay-out could arguably be the original Italian “quick service restaurant”. The Italian salad and hot ham and beef sandwich (“House Special”) are memorable and the most popular menu items. The dressings, sauces, meatballs, and roast beef are all made fresh from original family recipes.

Grassi’s proudly maintains its “from the Hill” roots. Our bread is baked daily by Joe Fazio’s Bakery, our pizza shells are fresh from Vitale’s Bakery, our cheesecake and “gooey butter cakes” are baked locally, and when available, we buy our produce from local farmers. Grassi’s is a constant in an ever-changing world! via tater patch’s website

Grassi’s West Website

Illinois

Al's Italian Beef

1079 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607

From its humble beginning back in 1938, brother Al Ferreri, sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Chris Pacelli, Sr., began experimenting with what is known today as Chicago’s # 1 Italian Beef Sandwich, an honor bestowed upon it by Chicago Magazine in 1980. Its many accolades include:

The good (but cheep) Chicago Restaurant book, 1974, Chicago Magazine July 1980 “The best Italian beef”, Chicago tribune weekend section Friday July 25, 1982 for “Chicago street foods”, Chicago Sun-Times Food section Guidelines for Gluttons, May 5, 1983, Chicago Sun-Times “The primer Italian-beef stand in Chicago”, Pat Bruno, October 28,1984, Lerner Communications bestowed upon Al’s in 1993, with an award for the “Best Italian Beef”. Al’s Beef appears and is recommended in the following publications:

Good food for the adventurous Eaters; Guide to Restaurants Serving America’s Best Regional Specialties; The Joy of Piggin’ Out, in the sandwich hall of fame section; and Hot Dog Chicago, A Natives dining Guide, TWA Airlines, inter-continental magazine AMBASSADOR.

1997 was a great year with appearances on ABC-Good Morning America, CBS-Channel 2 “Chicago’s Best”, The Today show, and Saturday Night Live. The June 13, 1997 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times North Side vs. South Side Special Section under Fine Dining, The North Side has LeFrancais, the South Side has “Al’s No.1 Italian Beef”. Al’s was picked as one of only 10 Chicago food vendors to serve thousands of people at Hillary Clinton’s 50th birthday party, and has appeared in a featured article of Gourmet magazine April 1998 issue.

Lou Mitchell's

565 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60661-5701

Uncle Lou’s father started the family business in 1923, and then entered his son, Lou Mitchell.

Enough fresh eggs have been cracked, made into omeletes, cooked in skillets and sold at Lou Mitchell’s to go side-by-side more than a few times around the world. And to think, it all started with one man’s dream in Chicago, Illinois.

The man was “Uncle” Lou Mitchell. His graciousness, friendliness, hospitality and constant effort and attention to quality and excellence soon had the droves of hungry eager customers standing in line.

The fun part of Lou Mitchell’s magic formula was added one day in 1958. Since that day, millions of donut holes to all and boxes of milk duds to the ladies and children have been given out.

The news spread and patrons flocked from all around the world: England, France, Germany, Italy…

Today Lou Mitchell’s is not only a Chicago institution, but also recognized nationally and internationally with endless accolades. Among the list are USA Today, American Way, newspapers, magazines, food critics, television. “It’s a must see place.”

Located at the beginning of Route 66 at 565 W. Jackson Boulevard, Lou Mitchell’s has been host to many. Everyone from U.S. Presidents, Mayors, Governors, Senators, Representatives, athletes, coaches, authors, judges, lawyers, clergy, and stars of the stage and screen. It’s a time-honored whistle stop on the campaign trails of many elected officials. Additionally, the restaurant’s patrons have served many members of the media as a solid source on how Chicagoans really think and feel about a variety of issues.

Uncle Lou taught us that excellence is a constant effort and that quality stands out.

Entering our 85th year, it’s still a family affair continuing the traditions of Lou Mitchell’s by the Thanas Family.

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Charlie Parker's

700 north street
springfield, il 62704

Hours: Mon – Sat: 6am. to 2pm. Sunday 7am – 2pm

Charlie Parker’s is a legend in the Springfield, IL community. Known for their great breakfast and delicious horseshoes (a Springfield tradition), Charlie Parker’s is a funky restaurant that deserves the detour. For those of you not familiar with a horseshoe, it is made as follows: two pieces of texas toast on bottom, lay on choice of meat, then a layer of massive fries smothered in cheese sauce. If you ever wanted to taste perfection, it is strongly suggested you try a one!

Want a pancake that is bigger than most small children? Well then you are in luck because that is on the menu! You can also share the enormous pancake as it comes sliced up like a giant pizza. The best part…breakfast all day long! That means that gigantic pancake is never out of reach. Charlie Parker’s isn’t open very long, but when they are you can guarantee a packed house.

Charlie Parker’s was also featured on the food network. Click here to see the clip on YouTube.com.

Mike Murphy, the owner, has done a tremendous job at keeping the business running at full strength and serving up some of the best food in the Midwest. So make sure you make that extra detour on your next trip through Springfield, IL and enjoy a taste of Charlie Parker’s finest!

www.charlieparkersdiner.net

Blue Springs Cafe

3505 george street
highland, il 62449

Hours: Open Daily 11am – 9pm

Let’s start with one simple comment. If you see a sign that says “Foot High Pies”, how could you not want to go check it out! We thought so. Blue Springs Cafe is home to the foot high pies that may not be quite a foot high, but they are close enough and are served in very generous portions. Now it’s not always quantity that wins the race, but the quality definitely keeps up with the ladder. The pies are delectable and unforgettable.

Blue Springs Cafe also hosts some delicious home cooked style meals. The meatloaf is full of “onion-y” flavor, the mash potatoes are exquisite and the overall portions are more than enough to question if you can even handle a foot.

Iowa

The Machine Shed

I-80 & northwest blvd, exit 292
davenport, ia “original location”

In 1978, The Machine Shed opened its first restaurant on the outskirts of Davenport, IA.  It had just 100 seats and the owners were all pretty young and green.  But The Machine Shed started with a powerful commitment. That was a five-word constitution: “Dedicated to the American Farmer”.  That dedication means the owners work hard to have a restaurant that isn’t just “farm themed” but something that farmers can be proud of.  The Machine Shed uses only the best beef, pork and poultry.  It cooks from scratch using fresh ingredients and the staff still peel the potatoes themselves.

Through the years, The Machine Shed Restaurants have sprung up around the Midwest and earned a bushel full of awards.  It’s been honored by the National Pork Producers Council, Beef Industry Council, National Dairy Association, and countless others.  In every city it’s located, you’ll find The Machine Shed on the “Best of” lists compiled by local media.

Thanks to you, Heart of America Restaurants and Inns have grown to include six states and 26 restaurants and hotels.  As the restaurants have grown, so has The Machine Shed’s pride in serving only the best in Midwestern hospitality.  Visit www.machineshed.com to find a location near you and come taste the difference.

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Canteen Lunch in the Alley

112 e 2nd street
ottumwa, ia 52501

Started in the 1920s, Canteen Lunch in the Alley is a local favorite to the people of Ottumwa Iowa and also a destination location for people around the world. In fact, they have a world map that has pins in it to signify where all the visitors have come from. Canteen is known for their pie and also their world famous “loose meat burger”. Unlike traditional patty based burgers, a loose meat burger is kind of like sloppy joe style burgers except the meat is not covered in sauce. Instead, they put lots of cheese on the bun and the meat and let you choose what fixings you would like.

The actual restaurant is very small and always crowded. Featuring just a single horseshoe sized counter, it is hard to grab a seat. Good news is that you can get your order to go so you don’t have to wait. Canteen has delicious homemade pies and delicious malts much like the burger joints from way back when. Speaking of history, Canteen was actually supposed to be demolished by the City of Ottumwa in favor of building a parking garage in the exact same spot. The citizens of Ottumwa rose up and prevented the city from getting rid of one of their oldest and most delicious establishments. So a compromise was reached. Canteen gets to stay and a parking garage would be built above and around the famed restaurant.

If you are ever in Ottumwa Iowa, make sure you stop by and try one of the best “loose meat burgers” in the world!

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Texas

Flying Fish

6126 luther lane
dallas, tx 75225

The Flying Fish is born out of a love for the many East Texas Fish Joints available on area lakes, especially Caddo Lake. We sell gobs of fresh catfish, shrimp and oysters, grilled fish, shrimp cocktail, fish cocktail, crab legs, burgers, chicken and mudbugs (crawfish) in season. A specialty selection of grilled salmon, trout or tilapia is also offered each day. Ice cold Tap and bottled Beer, wine and home made margaritas are also served.

The Flying Fish is a fast casual format with NO tipping expected!!!

We offer more than just a wide selection of fish.

We have great hamburgers, chicken tenders and fresh salads galore. If you want us to top your salad with a piece of grilled fish, we have that too. We also give the customers the chance to participate in the Liars Wall. Bring in a photo of YOU with your big catch and lie about the size!!!! We are also the Home of the first Billy Bass Adoption Wall. Any customer who donates a Billy Bass receives a FREE BASKET OF CATFISH, along with his or her name on a wall plaque and we promise to house, shelter, love and protect each ADOPTED Billy Bass.

The Flying Fish is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

We look forward to meeting your whole family (PS, we have KIDS BOATS for your minnows!)

Visit www.flyingfishinthe.net to find a location near you and come taste the difference.

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Ohio

Schmidt's Sausage Haus

240 east kossuth st
columbus, oh 43206

Born just north of Frankfurt Germany, patriarch J. Fred Schmidt journeyed to America and settled in south Columbus in the early 1880’s. Opening the J. Fred Schmidt Meat Packing House in 1886 in the heart of German Village, Schmidt’s became Central Ohio’s most well known name in meats and is to this day sold in leading grocery stores around the country.

Besides running a thriving packing house business through the great depression, J. Fred’s son George L. Schmidt, was a huge sports enthusiast. In 1938, he became the majority stockholder of one of Columbus’s first professional football teams, the Columbus Bullies. Schmidt’s first venture into the restaurant / concession business was in the 1920’s, when George L. Schmidt opened a stand at the Ohio State Fair. Today, the Schmidt’s food booth is the second oldest food concessionaire at the state fair and is still amongst the most popular.

J. Fred’s grandson, George F. Schmidt, opened the company’s first restaurant in July of 1967 just around the corner from his grandfathers’ meat packing plant in German Village. Using meat recipes from the packing days and dessert recipes from the German ladies hired to run the kitchen, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus became an instant success. Schmidt’s is still a landmark eatery in Central Ohio.

Today, the family tradition of day-to-day operations of this uniquely diverse hospitality company is carried out by the fourth generation of the Schmidt family. The Schmidt name is recognized throughout central Ohio and the nation as a leader in quality specialty restaurants, catering and unequaled banquet facilities as well as retail sales and fair and festival food services.

Schmidt’s is open 7 days a week.
Sun. & Mon. 11am – 9pm.
Tues., Wed. & Thurs. 11am – 10pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am – 11pm.

To learn more about the history of Schmidt’s click here.

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Hot Sauce Williams

7815 carnegie ave
cleveland, oh 44103

Hot Sauce Williams has 4 locations in the greater Cleveland, OH area and have quickly established themselves as the go to place for BBQ in Cleveland. Visited by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Adam “Man vs. Food” Richmond and Robin Williams, HSW quickly grew in popularity over the past few years. What makes the so special you say? Great question! It’s the sauce! They offer nearly everything smothered in their infamous sauce, and believe me, you want to smother everything you can. The ribs are your basic smoked ribs without it, but with the sauce they become an instant contender for best ribs on the planet! Their fried chicken is phenomenal and is even better when doused in their deliciously sweet BBQ sauce.

One thing to definitely take note on is their mashed potatoes. Don’t pass these up! These are hands down the best mashed potatoes on the planet! Not very often do you come across mashed potatoes that don’t require any sort of gravy, but gravy would seriously ruin this delictable experience. The mac n’ cheese was okay, but the green beans were also very good.

Overall, you get a lot of food for your buck, but don’t expect the best service. The wait is worth it though. So if you ever find yourself visiting the very polite town of Cleveland, make sure you stop at a Hot Sauce Williams. You won’t leave hungry or disappointed in the food.

Michigan

Schuler's Restaurant & Pub

115 s eagle street
marshall, mi 49068

Dining Room hours: Open everyday except Christmas
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.Winston’s Pub hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 9 p.mSummer Patio Dining:
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 9 p.mFor 100 years, Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub has kept it in the family – and beaten the odds. How rare is this achievement? According to Family Business Review more than 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation. Twelve percent will still be viable into the third generation, with three percent of all family businesses operating at the fourth-generation level and beyond. Schuler’s, a four-generation, family- owned restaurant in Marshall, Mich., is an institution.Schuler’s attributes its longevity to the foresight of its founder and the succeeding family members who have used their entrepreneurial skills to build a 100-year tradition of hospitality and fine dining. This historical buffet provides a peek at the character of the people and the events that have brought the restaurant to this noteworthy anniversary. The restaurant’s founder, Albert Schuler, was a native of Rome, New York. The adopted son of a traveling butcher, Albert migrated to Marshall in the early 1900s. The owner of a local lunch counter and cigar shop befriended him, and after learning the trade Albert opened a similar business on Main Street in 1909.In 1920, he purchased a hotel with a small dining room on Main Street, and named it The Albert. It was during this period that Albert became deputy sheriff. It wasn’t unusual for Albert to be summoned at the restaurant to attend to matters of the law. He would take off his apron and was out the door. Minutes or hours later, his apron was back on and it was business as usual. In 1924, he was ready to expand his business. He sold the hotel on Main Street and purchased the Royal Hotel and Restaurant in Marshall, and changed the name to Schuler’s. Soon the combination hotel and restaurant business became a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors.Win Schuler, Albert’s son, joined the family business in 1934. In 1936, Win, a former high school history teacher and coach, became full owner of the restaurant while his father continued to run the hotel and serve as sheriff of Calhoun County. Win is credited with expanding the family business into a highly successful string of restaurants across Michigan. His magnetic personality and salesmanship were his trademarks. He believed that personal service set his business apart. Win’s personal service included remembering every customer’s name. He worked hard at this art and is legendary in his ability to remember names. After an introduction, he worked names into any subsequent conversation three times. He even wrote the names down and before he went to sleep at night he would go over the new names of the day. The murals on the walls throughout Schuler’s and the sayings etched into the beams in the main dining room are the result of Win’s insatiable interest in history. Both have become part of the charm that continues to draw customers from hundreds of miles around to dine at the restaurant.

In addition to acquiring other restaurants, in the late 1930s Win and his brother, Albert, bought a golf course in Marshall. They named it Alwyn Downs. Back then, they charged 50 cents to play a round of golf. They eventually sold the course, but it’s still in business today. During World War II, injured military men and women who were sent to Percy Jones Hospital in Battle Creek heard about Schuler’s. It became standard practice for the patients to come to the restaurant at some point during their recovery. Some of the more famous patients included Gene Autry and Bob Dole.

Big Ten coaches and teams have been attracted to Schuler’s too. For decades, during the fall football season, Marshall has been referred to as the “Crossroads of the Big Ten.” Duffy Daughtery, Biggie Munn, Bump and Pete Elliott, Ara Parshegian, Bo Schembechler, Don Carhau, and George Perles are just a few of the Big Ten coaches who have frequented the restaurant.

In 1959, Win’s son, Hans Schuler became the third generation to join the family business. He grew up in the business and always knew this is what he wanted to do. Under his guidance at one time the family of restaurants grew to nine. In the Marshall restaurant he’s responsible for major expansions and ongoing renovations. Like his father, Hans enjoys greeting his customers. He also has an unusual ability to develop the people working on his team. Hans remains active as Schuler’s Chairman/CEO. Representing the fourth generation, Larry Schuler joined the family business in 1984. Larry owns Schu’s Grill and Bar in St. Joseph, Mich. In 2007, he was named president of Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall, and is committed to carry on the Schuler legacy. Very few families in Michigan have been in the restaurant business as long as Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub. The family feels this achievement is due to its ability to evolve and change and a never ending focus on the guest. It is dedicated to reinvesting in its business and the community in which it operates. 100 years is a terrific reason to celebrate four generations of Schuler dining and hospitality. The fifth generation of the Schuler family is just around the corner.

Want to know more? Visit www.SchulersRestaurant.comAll information obtained from www.SchulersRestaurant.com.

Dark Horse Brewery

511 s kalamazoo ave
marshall, mi 49068

Hours of Operation
Monday – Tuesday – 3p.m. to 11 p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday -11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday – noon service – 8 p.m.The Dark Horse Brewery is a microbrewery and tap room in Marshall, MI. The Dark Horse brews a variety of beers and beer styles, including the Crooked Tree India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Raspberry Ale, Sapient Trip Ale, Boffo Brown Beer, and Black Bier. Several seasonal and experimental brews are also produced. They also offer a wide variety of food, with the cuisine centered around items which can be produced in their pizza ovens. Dark Horse put out a significant amount of beer for their tank size but are still able to hand-fold and stock every six-pack produced. The brewery has won several medals at various brewing competitions.The brewery and taproom are located on property owned by Aaron Morse’s Father, proprietor of a convenience store adjacent to the taproom. Seating capacity in the taproom itself is limited to a few dozen, with room at the bar for perhaps 7-8. The most striking feature of the taproom is the many custom beer mugs hanging from hooks. The ceiling beams are literally covered with ceramic mugs.Mug club members at the Dark Horse have a punch-card system where every sixth mug is .50 cents. They are also known to clock-in and -out at the time clock located near the front door.A recent addition is a store selling Dark Horse merchandise and home brewing supplies in an outbuilding across the small parking lot.Links – www.DarkHorseBrewery.com Beer List General Store

Zingerman's Deli

422 detroit street
ann arbor, mi 48104

Hours of Operation
7am – 10pm everydayLooking for a funky new deli to enjoy? Well if you just so happen to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan then we have just the place for you, Zingerman’s Deli! Founded March 15, 1982 by Paul Saginaw, Michael Monahan, and Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s began as a deli serving (non-kosher) traditional European-Jewish delicatessen dishes and sandwiches. In 1997, Monahan sold his share of the company to Saginaw to focus on his original business venture, Monahan’s Seafood Market. As Zingerman’s grew, it expanded its offerings to gourmet foods from around the world, making their own bread at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, and creating dairy products at Zingerman’s Creamery. They recently opened a second restaurant, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which focuses on regional American cuisine. The enterprise now owns several brand names that make up the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, including the aforementioned enterprises in addition to Zingerman’s Mail Order, Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Zingerman’s Training, Inc., and Zingerman’s Catering. Zingerman’s sponsors several mail-order food clubs and occasional culinary study tours.The food is not only delicious, but served in huge increments. Any sandwich on their menu can easily feed two people so don’t be taken back when you see a sandwich can run you around $13, but you do get a pickle! Chips, soda, etc. are all extra costs, but you probably will not require them. Zingerman’s menu is huge, but fear not, they have an employee on staff ready to help answer any question you may have regarding the vast and delicious menu. Just an FYI, they are known for their famous corned beef sandwich better known as “Eddie’s Big Deal”. Zingerman’s Deli also has a variety of homemade cheeses and bread for you to take home.Zingerman’s Deli also has many other commodities. The original brick building, which echoes the brick lined streets of the neighborhood, houses the deli and sells a sampling of cheeses from Zingerman’s Creamery and bread from Zingerman’s Bakehouse in addition to premium meats, olive oil, vinegar, and other prepared and unprepared foods. Adjacent to the deli, Zingerman’s Next Door houses dine-in seating and sells Zingerman’s Coffee Company coffee, Zingerman’s Creamery gelato, and Zingerman’s Bakehouse cakes and pastries. A courtyard, with picnic tables, separates the two buildings.So if you are craving some great deli style food and a funky setting, we strongly recommend you stop by Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You won’t leave disappointed!www.ZingermansDeli.com

Arkansas

Oark General Store

10360 county road 5440
ozone, ar 72854

Hours
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday -Thursday
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 Friday & Saturaday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 SundayEst. 1890
Listed on the “Register of Historical Places in Arkansas, Oark General Store and Cafe, the 2002 award winners for the Arkansas River Valley Tri-Peaks Region Johnson County for best food and tourism hospitality, has been serving the area for over a hundred years.The “Cafe” has full service that features home cooking and special prices. Walk in, Waddle Out! We feature Smokehouse Style Steaks, Ribs, Catfish, Frog Legs, and much more.(Served noon till closing) Also try our homemade Chicken Fried Steak!!Saturday and Sunday morning it’s “All You Can Eat Breakfast Buffet”. The store is located 21 miles from Clarksville. Take Hwy 103 North to Hwy 215, turn right and go five miles to the Historic Oark General Store and Cafe.If you are coming from Ozark, you can take Hwy 23 north to Hwy 215, Arkansas’ new scenic byway. Go east on Hwy 215 and it takes you right to the store.

Hugo's

25 1/2 N block ave
fayetteville, ar 72854

Hours
11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday
11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday & Saturaday
Closed on SundayEst. 1977
Hugo’s is located in a basement in the historic downtown square. Known best for their burgers, Hugo’s delivers an incedible variety on the menu that even the non-burger lovers can enjoy. Hugo’s also has a full bar with a 32 beer selection which is perfect for a Friday night out on the town type of meal. They also have an amazing spinach and artichoke dip if you’re into that sort of thing.People have been known to go out of their way to make sure they taste Hugo’s burger in pursuit of the best burger in the South…maybe the U.S. The staff is friendly and the environment is extremely unique and eye catching. If you ever find yourself in Fayateville, don’t be afraid to go to the restaurant located in a basement. It may be the tastiest move you ever made.hugosfayetteville.com

Kansas

Oklahome Joe's

3002 w 47th ave
kansas city, ks 66103

Did you know that Oklahmoa Joe’s is actually located inside a gas station? Who ever knew that opening a restaurant inside a gas station would be so successful? Apparently Jeff Stehney, the owner of Oklahoma Joe’s, knew. Be prepared to wait in line no matter what time of day you visit the illustrious Oklahoma Joe’s because the demand is always there. In a city known for some of the best BBQ on the planet, Oklahoma Joe’s definitely has a flavor worth tasting even with all the competition in town. At the end of this review there is a link to all the awards they have won over the years…a very long list.

The best part about Oklahoma Joe’s has to be the fact that when you order your food and slide down to pay, the food is right there and ready for you. Think a delicious BBQ version of Subway. It is literally that quick…once you get past the long line that is. The sides are extra, but one order of fries can easily feed two hungry people so you really get what you pay for. All of the sandwhiches are delicious and some are even unique. They also have the traditional beef, chicken, etc. sandwhiches if you are more of the traditionalist type. There are not many seats available in the house, but it seems to be just the right amount. Also, since Oklahoma Joe’s is located in a convienent gas station, they have shelves that have all of their famous rub’s and sauces ready for you to purchase. So even if you can’t stay for the food, be sure to grab some of their product on your way out.

History of Oklahoma Joe’s:
Born the son of an immigrant Lithuanian lamp maker, Jeff Stehney, Oklahoma Joe’s owner, got his first taste of . . . . .
Sorry, that’s the wrong story.

Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue and Catering can be traced to competition barbecue and the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). Tagging along with friends at the American Royal and The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle was all the inspiration Jeff needed to get started cooking on his own. The first smoker purchased was an Oklahoma Joe’s 24″ smoker, christened below in April 1991.

The competition team, Slaughterhouse Five, went through some personnel changes the first two years and by 1993, Jeff, his wife and business partner Joy, and Jim Howell were ready to make their mark on the KCBS competition circuit. And make their mark they did, winning eight Grand Championships, including the prestigious American Royal BBQ, three Reserve Grand Championships, and the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s Grand Champion “Team of the Year” in 1993. Over the next several seasons Slaughterhouse Five won dozens more awards and was generally recognized as one of the top competition BBQ teams in the Country.

All of this eventually lead to the opening of Oklahoma Joe’s restaurant in Kansas City, KS. Oklahoma Joe’s has gained a local and national reputation for outstanding barbecue. The Zagat national restaurant survey rated Oklahoma Joe’s “Excellent” for Barbecue in 2000. The local Pitch Weekly gave the restaurant 3 1/2 stars in 2001. Oklahoma Joe’s has been featured on numerous local television segments and nationally on CBS ‘Sunday Morning’. The Food Network on Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cooks Tour”, and a PBS barbecue series featuring Rick Brown.

Links: OklahomaJoe’sBBQ.com List of Awards Shop Oklahoma Joe’s Online Catalog

California

Pink's

709 n la brea blvd
los angeles, ca 90038

Pink’s is a Hollywood hotspot that is not only a treat for the stars, but a treat for the average joe as well. You don’t have to be a big hollywood hot shot to eat like one! For over 70 years Pink’s has been delivering the most unique and some of the most delicious hot dogs in the world! You will literally spend the 20 minute wait in line making one of the hardest decisions of your life. How do I choose just one? It’s not an easy task, but rest assured, whatever decision you make, your stomach and your tastebuds will thank you! The hot dogs are very big and very well priced. We also recommend trying the chili cheese fries. If you ever find yourself mixing it up in Hollywood, make sure you stop by the world’s most famous hot dog stand and enjoy one of, if not the best, hot dog around!

History of Pink’s:
Pink’s is probably the most famous hot dog stand in the country… certainly in Los Angeles! Located near the corner of Melrose and La Brea, Pink’s can be found by looking for a crowd of people and following the aroma of fresh meaty chili and soft hot dog buns. Pink’s is unlike any other hot dog stand in America. For example, it has its own parking lot attendant (parking is free). It has been in the same location for 65 years. It is not unusual to see a Rolls Royce pull up to Pink’s (the chili dog ordered will be for the occupant, not the chauffeur!). Movie stars, well-known dignitaries, struggling musicians, businessmen, housewives, school children… all have savored Pink’s Famous Chili Dogs.

Paul Pink started his hot dog stand in 1939. It was only a large-wheeled pushcart in those days. The depression was on and money was scarce. Pink’s chili dogs, complete with a large warm bun, oversized hot dog, mustard, onions and thick chili sold for 10 cents each. His hot dog wagon was located in “the country”, rolling hills of weeds and open spaces. That was the corner of La Brea and Melrose sixty-five years ago! Times have changed, but not Pink’s. Oh, in 1946 Paul Pink did trade his hot dog wagon in for a small building (constructed on the vary same spot where the wagon had stood). But the stand hasn’t changed since those days. Today, Pink’s chili dogs sell for $2.95 each (with inflation and the shrinking dollar, they are a better bargain now than in 1939!). Pink’s still gives that very same quality now as then… mouth-watering chili, generously topping an all-beef hot dog with mustard and onions. Quality and service (an average Pink’s chili dog can be ordered, prepared and delivered to the customer in less than 30 seconds!) have been the two reasons Pink’s has not only survived, but become famous.

www.pinkshollywood.com

The Crab Cooker

2200 newport boulevard
newport beach, ca 92663

The Crab Cooker can be summed up in one phrase, “Good things do come in small packages”. The Crab Cooker is a quaint little restaurant in the oh so hyped Newport Beach area. The food is delicious and served in generous portions, but it does come with the price tag that goes along with the area. The good news is, it is worth it! Doesn’t matter if you are the wealthiest guy in town or a local looking for some grub; you will be sure to have a great time at this funky little “shack”. The company is great, the place is packed, and the restaurant is filled with all the seafood nostalgia you could have ever asked for.

All the food is served on paper and plastic items along with plastic utensils, but what more do you really need? At least you know you are the only one to use that particular silverware as everything is discarded after use. It is very practical in that this method keeps the ever growing line moving and the tables that much easier to clean and get ready for the next hungry family. The clam chowder is a must try. You can even enjoy some while waiting in line for the main course.

The crab cakes are some of the best you will find anywhere and the smoked albacore with keep your mouth watering for more long after you have enjoyed it for the first time. The good news is that they have a market in the restaurant as well so you can buy the freshest fish and take it home to enjoy if you are not quite ready for seconds, but know you will eventually wind up wanting more…which you will!

The Crab Cooker is great for families, large parties or just a few people looking for some good grub and a good time. Don’t expect the service to be top quality as they are always busy and always trying to keep the customers full and the line moving. Overall, this is definitely a side trip you are going to want to make.

www.crabcooker.com

Alabama

Big Bob Gibson's BBQ

1715 6th avenue, se
decatur, al 35601

Hours: 7 days 9:30 am to 8:30 pm at SE Decatur Location

Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:30 am to 8:30 pm at other SE Decatur Location

Hours: 7 days 9:30 am to 8:30 pm at Monroe, NC Location

Since 1925, Bib Bob Gibson’s BBQ has offered some of the most delicious BBQ in all of the country. What began as a friendly charismatic man cooking in his backyard for all the locals in 1925, spread to world reknowned BBQ joint with 3 locations and 5 generations of overall BBQ’ing experience. All 5 of Big Bob’s kids have made the BBQ business their passion and they have done their father proud. Known for their delicious smoked chicken draped in their unique white BBQ sauce, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ restaurant has captured the hearts of many BBQ enthusiats around the nation…nay, the world!

The chicken is quite delicious! If you are a fan of mayonaise, we strongly suggest using their white BBQ sauce to compliment this juicy treat! The pork is no slouch either. Oozing with a wonderful smokey essence from hickory and applewood smokers, the pork just melts in your mouth. If you are health concious, you can even have the “healty” pork salad. It really doesn’t matter what you order since you will always leave full and satisfied.

If you are a BBQ fanatic, we strongly recommend making the trip to one of their 3 locations (2 in Decatur, AL and one in Monroe, NC). If you really want to just try and make their famous meals at home, you can get their receipes from their website.
www.bigbobgibsonbbq.com

Lulu's

200 east 25th avenue
gulf shores, al 36542

Hours: Open Daily
Sun-Th 11am – 9pm
Fri & Sat 11am – 10pmLulu’s is far from your conventional restaurant. Lulu’s epitomizes the true meaning of a good time and that life is indeed good! Some call it an escape to just enjoy yourself and the company you may have at the time, but Lulu’s is much more than that. It is a place that will always be something to look forward to. Whether you are going for the food, the music, or the just the company, you are guranteed to have a great time!I’m sure you all know the song Cheeseburger In Paradise by Jimmy Buffet. Well, this is where that song began. Lulu is Jimmy’s sister! Moving along. The cheeseburgers are actually very VERY delictable! They sell so many of them that at the bottom of the website they actually have a counter for how many of the most popular items they have sold to date from January 1 to December 31 of the corresponding year. Among that list are magaritas and gallons of gumbo sold. It’s really quite incredible if you look at the number and put it into perspective.This is a must stop place if you ever visit LA (Lower Alabama aka Gulf Shores, AL). It is a time that you and your family or friends will not forget!www.lulusathomeport.com

Papa Rocco's

101 west 6th avenue
gulf shores, al 36542

Hours: 11am to Midnight Daily

Like pizza? Like oysters? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then Papa Rocco’s is the place for you! Known for being a great tourist trap and the only restaurant in Gulf Shores, AL that has a full menu until midnight! All we can say is the pizza is delicious and they have some of the best oysters in town. Below is a little history straight from the Papa himself!

In the mid 1980’s, Bill McGinnes bought a stilted building a block from the beach in Gulf Shores, cut 10′ off of each piling and turned what had been an all-you-can-eat buffet into and oyster and pizza restaurant.

It might have been more profitable to pick a more bustling beach town than sleepy Gulf Shores, but Bill preferred the pace and style so he left his job as an engineer in a Detroit auto factory and settled down in LA (Lower Alabama).

Originally, Papa Rocco’s had only about five items on their menu and some people thought it funny that a restaurant would specialize in pizza and oysters… but Bill knew by the way they laughed that it was going to work.

The “Warm Beer and Lousy Pizza” slogan came about in the third year but by then thousands of locals and tourists knew better. Papa Rocco’s had become the place to go in Gulf Shores as the only place that served a full menu until midnight and the only nightspot with live entertainment seven nights a week.

McGinnes recalls that the first musician to play Papa’s was Ken Henderson who later formed a duo with the late, great Johnny Williams, another long time Papa Rocco’s player (formerly of The Drifters) and, still, no one questions that Gulf Shores legend, Brent Burns, has played at Papa’s the longest.

Since Papa’s was the first in the area to feature nightly entertainment, there are very few local musicians who haven’t played at Papa’s. National acts, including Buddy Greco and AL Hirt have also graced the stage at Papa’s.

Papa has never taken more than a long weekend off in the 20+ years so he’ll likely be here to greet you the next time you stop in.

www.paparocco.com

Florida

Flora-bama

17401 perdido key dr
pensacola, fl 32507

Hours: Open Daily at 11 am!

Florabama offers not only an amazing meal, but an amazing night of entertainment as well. Live music, lots of locals, cheap drinks along with the famous bushwacker (which I will get to in a moment), and a great view of gulf. It’s the perfect spot to go to on vacation. You are getting a full stomach and a night on the town. During spring break, you are hard pressed to find an open place to stand. That is how famous this place is. People (students and tourists alike) all go out of their way to go to the Florabama when they visit Gulf Shores.

Florabama has a certain “let your hair down” vibe. You are instantly drawn to the crowd around you and you know you are in for a good time. The food is outstanding!! They have an oyster bar (which is delicious), but they have so much more! The fried whole pickles, the hand sized shrimp, the sandwhiches, the jalopeno poppers, and oh so much more! If you go with a group, make sure you just get an assortment of all they offer, but make sure you order yourself a bowl of gumbo. You will not regret it.

The Florabama does have an interesting way of being decorated though. If you look up, you will see a variety of colors and sizes of none other than…wait for it…bras! That’s right! I said bras. The spring breakers and party goers definitely leave their mark in this very intriguing venu. It may be the live music, but it could also have to do with the delicious drink called The Bushwacker. We here at Central called it the Adult Frosty (think Wendy’s). You can get it by the pitcher or by the cup, but it is a frozen delicacy that you will probably not be able to get enough of. Beware the brain freeze!

If you would like to learn more, just visit their website below.

www.florabama.com

Virginia

Skeeter's

165 e main street
wytheville, va 24382

Skeeter’s has been a local legend in Wytheville for nearly 90 years and has gained a reputation of serving some of the best hot dogs in the country! If you are a fan of slaw dogs, then you should definitely make this a pit stop if you are heading out East! There is a wide selection of dogs to choose from and the company and atmosphere is always pleasant. They also have a nice little treat called a baby cake that you can wash down after you enjoy your dog.

There isn’t much to Skeeter’s other than the great selection of hot dogs and wonderful company, but the town of Wytheville is rich in history so make sure you take it all in.

visitwytheville.com

Nevada

Four Kegs

276 n jones blvd
las vegas, ne 89107

Four Kegs may not have the greatest location (in appearance or convenience of location) in Las Vegas, but it is definitely worth the drive. It is located right off of the freeway so it’s not so bad. Known for half off prices after midnight during the week, Four Kegs is the place to go for those late night cravings that you are almost guaranteed to have while you are in Vegas. The food is top notch and the environment is oozing with “good time” vibes.

Four Kegs is known for having some of the best stromboli…well…ever! People who don’t even like stromboli will end up loving it! Their pizza is also exquisite. We recommend trying the sicilian. The other stand out dish is the hot wings. Very hard to describe, but impossible to pass on. The flavor will definitely leave a lasting impression. A good one though!

For more information, check out their website. The link is below.

fourkegs.com