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Campbell Lane

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Campbell Lane is a connector route across the Southeastern corner of the city. It links Scottsville Road and Route 31W South, otherwise known as Nashville Road. Campbell Lane is new. A few years ago it was a lonely two lane road bordered by corn and tobacco fields. Now, 75% of it has been converted to strip malls. Almost all of the restaurants are in those strip malls. They're mostly chain outlets, although a few, like Peppers, are locally owned chains with other locations only in Bowling Green. There's variety here, including Japanese, Mexican, Steak, BBQ, Chinese, even one specializing in Cupcakes. The 31W end of Campbell Lane comes out near Lost River Cave, a longtime Bowling Green tourist attraction. On a hot, humid Summer afternoon a leisurely boat ride through the cave is a neat way to cool off for half an hour. There are also hiking trails and a gift shop. This is Cave Country. If you don't have time for an all day visit to Mammoth Cave, this smaller cave is one way to see what the fuss is about. Just realize Lost River Cave is one of the smaller commercial show caves in existence, while Mammoth Cave is the largest cave system in the world.

Panera's plays to its strength at breakfast with a long list of baked goods. There are eight flavors of Bagels, seven Breakfast Sandwiches, and 15 flavors of Breads, five flavors of Pastries, three kinds of Scones, six kinds of Muffins, four kinds of Sweet Rolls, not to mention Brownies, Blondies, Coffee Cakes, Cookies, and Mini Bundt Cakes. We like their Sourdough, Honey Wheat and Asioga Cheese items. They also have gourmet teas, cappucinos, lattes, espressos, and freshly brewed coffees. Of all the outlets offering Cappucinos, Panera's has the best. They seem to be the only ones who understand how to make it, whule everyone just treats it like another kind of Coffee. Then there are fruit smoothies, mangos, caramels and mochas, and, for the traditionalists, orange juice and apple juice. The crackling fireplace is nice on cold Winter mornings. This Panera's is the second restaurant on the right as you enter Campbell Lane from Scottsville Road.
Sonic is a retro drive in restaurant where for half an hour or so you can pretend you're back in the 1950s. They even have girls on roller skates coming out to take your order and carrying your food out on trays which hook onto your car window. The menu is the classic burger, fries, shake and ice cream, although they've updated it a little with Nachos, Onion Rings and Chicken Nuggets. They play Golden Oldie music over the speakers. On Fridays and Saturdays it's a frequent stop for guys cruising Bowling Green in their restored 50s and 60s cars, or dropping by in their Corvettes after a day at the Corvette Museum, so you might want to bring your camera. If you ride in on your Harley or Indian Head, there are a few picnic tables set up under the canopy so you can sit outside and enjoy the ambience. This Campbells Lane location is brand new, and even has a playground, but somehow still retains that Sonic atmosphere. It's the first restaurant as you enter Campbell Lane from Scottsville Road, but you have to look carefully, because it's hidden behind Panera's.
Chickfilet is a classic fried chicken franchise. Started way back in 1964 in Georgia, Chickfilet created the Boneless Breast of Chicken Sandwich. Chickfilet was already one of the nation's top five chicken chains in 1994, when they unleashed their black and white Holstein cows urging America to Eat Mor Chikin. This has become one of America's all time most famous marketing campaigns and propelled Chickfilet into second place among chicken chains. The Chicken Sandwich, of course, is their signature item, but people return for other favorites, like the Lemonade, Iced Tea, Cole Slaw, Carrot Raisen Salad, and Fruit Cups (featuring their famous hand cut strawberries). Their most recent innovation has been the Waffle Potatoes, fried in cholesterol and trans fat free Peanut Oil. Chickfilet does not have as extensive a menu as their rivals. They have chosen to focus on a few items done extremely, extremely well. The public so far seems to like it that way. This Chickfilet is the third restaurant on the right as you enter Campbell Lane from Scottsville Road.
Pepper's is Bowling Green's best Tex Mex restaurant. They've closed their Northgate and other Campbell Road locations and merged operations into this one larger facility. Tex Mex is heavier on cheese, chili and cumin than traditional Mexican food and invented Fajitas, which are not native to Mexico. Of the Appetizers, we particularly like their "Real Guacamole" and Cheese Dips, although the restaurant's own chips and dip are also way above average. We are huge fans of Chile Rellenos and use them to evaluate Mexican kitchens since they're tricky to prepare well. Pepper's interprets them as Chiles Poblanos and after stuffing them with cheese coats them heavily in egg, which concentrates the flavor. Topped with a tomato sauce, these are outstanding. There are more vegetarian entrees on this menu than other Bowling Green Mexican restaurants offer. We think their Seafood Fajitas (which include shrimp, scallops and tilapia) are great. You can create your own combination dinner for $8 : one each of any three entrees from the whole menu. A Relleno, Enchilada and Chimichanga were well worth it. Pepper's offers one of the best Grilled Seafood menus we've seen : 12 entrees, although they're mostly shrimp fixed different ways.
Kyoto Gardens is a small, modestly priced Japanese Steak House in Buckhead Square. They keep their menu simple, their service crisp and efficient, and their prices low. There are four appetizers, 10 basic entrees, eight combinations of various entrees, three sides and two desserts. Appetizers are Gyoza, Spider Roll, Vegetable Tempura and Egg Roll. We really like their Spider and Egg Rolls. Of their entrees, we most like their Scallops and Fish of the Day. But others of our group liked the three kinds of steak (Yakitori, Teriyaki and Hibachi) and two kinds of chicken (Teriyaki and Hibachi). The other two are common items but the Yakitori is not as widely available and is very, very good. These basic entrees are all in the $6-8 range. The combinations range from $9 - 13. The $13 combos are the Seafood Platter, featuring Jumbo Shrimp, Scallops and Fish of the Day, and The Emperor's Dinner, a mix of Chicken, Steak and Shrimp. All entrees or combos come with fried rice, ginger sauce and sweet carrots. Our only issue with Kyoto is their Deep Fried Cheesecake and Deep Fried Ice Cream. They're delicious, but they're already delicious before being Deep Fried. We don't see the need for frying. However, Kyoto proves we can still prepare good food for reasonable prices.
Quiznos is a Sub shop started in an abandoned gas station in Denver. In an attempt to differentiate itself from its chief rival, Subway, Quiznos toasts its Subs and has added Soups, Salads, Wraps( which they call "Bullets"), Flat Bread Tacos (which they call "Sammies"), and Toasted Baguettes (which they call "Torpedoes"). The soups include Broccoli Cheese, Chicken Noddle and Chili. We think their Broccoli Cheese is their best. Of their "Sammies," we prefer the Smoky Chipotle Turkey, but friends really like the Italiano. (There's something amusing about an Italian Taco, but it really is good.) The Salads contain chopped greens. There are six, of which we like their Raspberry Chipotle Chicken (chicken, bacon, cheddar, tomatoes,and raspberry chipotle dressing). But their signature item is still their Subs. We like the Veggie (guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar and red win vinaigrette), and the Mesquite Chicken, but they've got 15 others, all nicely toasted.

Yes. It's True. We have a whole restaurant serving nothing but Cupcakes. Gigi's was launched in New Jersey in 2005 by two sisters. Every place they've opened a franchise people have gone wild over it but you have to understand a few things going in. First, these are BIG cupcakes. You pay $3 for one but you definitely get your money's worth. Second, they come with LOTS of frosting. A Gigi's tradition is the frosting is as big as the cupcake. And they are RICH. These cupcakes give adults sugar buzzes. It's quite reasonable to split one with your date. It's also common to see people eating their cupcakes with knives and forks. It's hard to eat one by mouth when the frosting is four inches high. If you're trying to fit into your high school jeans, this is NOT the place to come. The menu includes 70 cupcakes, which they rotate on a weekly basis, so you have a Monday menu, Tuesday menu, etc. It's pretty hard to pick favorites out of this sugary wonderland, but we think we like the Hot Fudge Sundae, Lemon Dream, Cookies n Cream, Pina Colada, and Peach Cobbler Cupcakes the best. Actually, the best use of Gigi's may not be to drop by for a cupcake. It may be to drop by for a box of mixed flavors to take to the office, or to a party. They may be a better birthday party treat than the traditional birthday cake. Gigi's is fun to visit, too. The place is cute, the waitresses are cute, and the whole operation is cute. So by the time you get to your cute cupcake, you're in just a real cute mood. If you're having a bad day, this will liven things up in a hurry. Gigi's is in Buckhead Square.

The Buckhead Cafe is a very sleek sit down restaurant with a seven page menu and surprisingly reasonable prices. You read the menu from the wall, order, find a table, are notified by public address when your meal is ready, and go back to the counter and get it yourself. This self serve style is how they keep prices low. We're not big on chips, but of their appetizers, we really like their homemade Kettle Chips (topped with jack & cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives and ranch dressing). There are four salads and three soups. Our favorite is the Baked Potato Soup, which you can order in a cup, bowl or loaf of bread. Buckhead offers five Paninis, four Wraps, and four Pizzas. Their pizzas feature a thin crust and are baked in a wood fired oven. This is not primarily a fast food place, but for the kids in your group they offer five. There are four grilled chicken sandwiches, but for dinner we prefer either their half or whole Rotisserie Chickens. They get pretty creative with their Specialty Drinks. There are eight kinds of Coffee, nine kinds of hot or iced Tea, 10 kinds of Milkshakes, plus Green Tea Smoothies, two Frozen Colas, and three Juices. An in house bakery supplies desserts : five Muffins, three Cheesecake flavors, two kinds of Cake, and four kinds of Dessert Bars.
The famous Jared campaign where a grossly overweight guy lost 245 of his 425 pounds by eating all his meals at Subway for a year was humorous but also accurate. They brag about their eight basic sandwiches containing six grams of fat or less. Of that array, we love their Black Forest Ham, Chicken Teriyaki, and Oven Roasted Chicken. You control your ingredients, but your choices are vegetables, freshly made breads, and fatless cuts of meat. If you do want to add a little cholesterol to your diet, there are Meatball Marinara, Philly Cheese Steak, and eight other alternatives. Subway isn't into teas, soups, desserts or other menu items. You can construct a salad from the veggie sandwich ingredients but that's about it. However, if you want the best basic sandwich anywhere, Subway is your place.
Do not let the modest storefront mislead you. Albany's is a very good, reasonably priced steak house. It has a full menu and the quality is excellent. Among the eight appetizers, we like the Corn Nuggets (sweet cream corn filled nuggets deep fried), Broccoli Nuggets (broccoli and cheese filled nuggets deep fried), and Crab Egg Rolls (egg rolls stuffed with crab meat, cream cheese, and diced onions). There are four salads, a bowl of chili and a soup of the day. There are entrees of Chicken, Pasta, Lasagna, BBQ Ribs, Sword Fish and Salmon, but on that page we like their Catfish. Obviously, however, their house specialty is their steak menu. Prices range from $12-14. They include Prime Rib, New York, Sirloin, T Bone, Ribeye, Teriyaki, and Albany. These are corn fed, feedlot steaks but they are well prepared and artfully served. There is an extensive burger and sandwich menu of 12 choices. For dessert you can choose from a Chocolate Chip Brownie, Apple Pie and Cheesecake.

Jumbo China Buffet is Bowling Green's newest Chinese cafeteria style restaurant. It features Cantonese, Szechuan and Hunan items, plus Japanese Sushi, Thai Shrimp, Alaskan Crab Legs and Chilean Salmon. They use 100% cholesterol free vegetable oil and reduced Monosodium Glutamate. There are the usual 100+ items including all the usual favorites : General Tsao's Chicken, Dragon & Phoenix, Mongolian Beef and Chicken Chow Mein. They offer a lunch buffet from 11:30 - 3:30, a dinner buffet from 4:00 - 10, and carryout anytime. Like most Chinese buffets, there is so much to choose from it's hard to pick favorites. However, we think their Hot & Sour is their best soup, the Boneless Spare Ribs are their best appetizer, and their various Chop Suey dishes are their best of the regular entrees. And we think their Chef's Specialties menu contains their very best entrees. We really like their Seafood Delight (shrimp, king crab, squid, scallops with vegetables, all in a white wine sauce), Happy Family (pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, king crab and vegetables sauteed with special seasoning), and Subgum Wonton (king crab, sliced chicken, roast pork, shrimp, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn and broccoli sauteed and served with a crispy wonton), each for $9.

Zaxby's was born in 1990 when two basketball playing buddies decided their small town didn't have restaurants to suit them. They focus mainly on chicken fingers with fries. This combo comes in various platters and forms. There are four salads, each incorporating sliced chicken fingers with lots of greenery. Sides include wings, mushrooms, cheddar cheese bites, house fried tater chips, onion rings, celery, cole slaw and fried pickles. You have your choice of ten sauces ranked according to heat. If you think of meals as wars between you and your food, order the Insane Sauce. It's guaranteed to light your fire. Dessert is your choice of ice cold, purely ice cream milkshakes. This location is on your left at the top of the hill coming from Scottsville Road
Garcia's Grill bills itself as "a different kind of Mexican restaurant" because they offer more grilled items and a mix of TexMex and Western (Baja) cuisine rather than the Central or Eastern Mexican items usually seen. There's a Soup of the Day and a Mexican Fondue (Mexican sausage slices you dip in cheese and pepper sauce). Somebody at your table has to order the Crab Cakes, made with chipotle and cilantro. Their Chili Rellenos, in addition to being stuffed with chicken and mozarello cheese, add a generous dose of pecans. Tacos, in addition to the regular ingredients, receive diced pablano peppers. The Xaliciense Platter is something you haven't tasted elsewhere in town. It contains sauteed shrimp, Mexican sausage, green peppers and red onions topped with cheese sauce. This Baja favorite reminds us very much of the classic Spanish Paea. Another unique item is their Grouper Salad (filet of Grouper blackened and served in a mix of greens, cheese, romaine, croutons and a homemade caesar dressing). A seafood section offers four Shrimp entrees, a Fish of the Day (usually Snapper) and Fish Tacos (Grouper, cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado and cheese sauce). There are the traditional Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Burritos and Chimichangas, but there's also a Pasta Poblano you haven't tasted anywhere else.
Whitt's Barbeque specializes in old fashioned hickory smoked pit barbeque. The core of their menu is Wet or Dry Ribs, Half or Whole Chicken, and your choice of Pork, Beef or Chicken sandwiches or plates. It's really a carryout place, with few tables and limited parking. As sides you can get Baked Potatoes, Fried Apples, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Corn on the Cob, Macaroni & Cheese and Potato Salad. Each plate comes with two sides. Dessert options are Pie of the Day or Banana Pudding. This is classic Western Kentucky style barbecue, quite different from the Monroe County style of the Smoky Pig out on 31W North. Smoky Bones also does hickory smoking but their Florida Corporate style leans more toward a Carolina flavor, and of course with a full menu they spread themselves over many different foods, while Whitt's specializes in just good local barbeque. They could make the claim to being the only pure Western Kentucky style bbq outlet in town, not counting the entrepreneurs who tow trailers around town and show up at malls and football games. 270-846-4448.
Shogun's is a very good Japanese steak, seafood and sushi house. They're open for lunch and dinner with different menus. All lunches include Japanese Green Onion Soup. Among the lunchtime appetizers, we like the Spring Rolls (hand made cabbage and vegetable fillings in a sweet spicy peanut sauce) and Pot Stickers (pork with onions, sesame and soy ginger). The Hibachi Sauteed Vegetables are a great light lunch entree, but there are also chicken, steak, shrimp and scallop items. Desserts include Pears Poached in Red Wine, Kentucky Bread Pudding and Fried Ice Cream. If you're up for a mid day drink, they offer Hot or Cold Sake, Sapparo, and Plum Wine. Otherwise, there's Green or Peach Tea. At dinner the menu expands to include all combinations of steak, chicken, black tiger shrimp, sea scallops, lobster, tuna, salmon and mahi mahi (dolphinfish). Their mixed drinks include unique choices like Japanese Koolaid, Green Dragon, Sake Bomb, and Kamikaze. Dinners are prepared at your table. This preparation is a show in itself. The two page Sushi Menu offers several months of exploration, but we can especially recommend the Yellowfin Tuna, Caterpillar (eel, cucumber, avocado), Hawaiian (albacore, garlic, avocado and wasabi mayo), and Scallop (scallops, topiko, green onion and sweet sauce). Of their house salads, if you've never tried Seaweed Salad this would be a good place to start, as their version is excellent. But so are the Squid and Cucumber/Crab/Octopus Salads. At dinner, you have to order Tiramisu, the classic Japanese dessert : chocolate liqueur, coffee, cocoa, and white and dark chocolate. The kids menu includes another classic : Cavatappi & Cheese, the Japanese version of Mac & Cheese, this one made with white cheddar.
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