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Hamburg Place

Since 2000


Hamburg Farm Horse Cemetery

Hamburg Place is the sprawling mall built on the former world famous horse farm of the same name. It includes a movieplex, hotels, retail outlets, restaurants, apartments, condos, townhouses and single dwellings. The restaurants are all chains, and only two are locally owned. If you're staying at one of the hotels or if you live in the area, you can find every kind of food within a two mile radius. Some of the restaurants we review on this page are not in the core Hamburg complex but across Man o War (on Sir Barton extended, which becomes Pleasant Ridge), or across Winchester Road. The horse cemetery pictured holds the remains of famous Hamburg Place champions.

Bob Evans Bonefish Carabba's Old Chicago Cosi's Cracker Barrel Culver's Fazoli's I Ching
Montana Grill
Waffle House
Applebees has three Lexington locations. Pictured here is the one at Hamburg. They have one page of items with less than 550 calories, and a "2 for 20" deal where you pick one appetizer and two entrees for $20. Yes, there are fried items. However, there are plenty of soups, salads, pastas and fajitas, under the seafood menu you can get your tilapia and shrimp grilled., and five of the six chicken entrees are grilled. One of their best entrees is a Fajita Combo : grilled steak and chicken fajitas on a cast iron skillet with Southwest rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, caramelized onions, and green peppers and Jack Cheddar Cheese. The steak menu offers six entrees priced from $10 - 15. Among their appetizers we like the Queso Blanco : white queso blended with fresh tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, roast pablanos, jalapenos and chips. There are also Wonton Tacos : pulled pork stuffed in crispy wonton shells and topped with crunchy Asian slaw. The dessert menu features strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse and a hot fudge sundae. Beverages include the usual beers, margaritas and mixed drinks. Kendall Jacksons are probably their best wines and they offer several good sangrias.
Backyard Burger is a Memphis chain specializing in just one thing : grilled burgers. On each one they put lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, mustard and ketchup. They claim to buy their lettuce and tomatoes locally so they ripen on the vine and green up in the field, not under nitrogen gas while being shipped in from Mexico or China. It's hard to prove this claim. But this is a restaurant review website and we have pretty well developed taste buds, and these are definitely not nitrous oxide ripened lettuce leaves or tomato slices. On request, they can add Swiss or American cheese, jalapenos, or cole slaw. Unlike their older and more famous rivals, Backyard Burger does not ship prebuilt frozen bun/beef/trimming slabs to put in the microwave. Instead, they ship the ingredients fresh and build each burger locally, then grill it right in front of you. They don't put anything under a heat lamp. There's not one in the place. It's a simple menu. You have your choice of a 1/3 or 2/3 pound patty, in a basic, mushroom, bacon cheddar, black jack and chipotle trim package. We like the Black Jack, which adds Creole Mayonaisse and pepper jack cheese for a Cajun flavor. We rank this one of the two top burger outlets in town.
waffle house restaurant Waffle House is famous for their waffles but ironically their menu features everything else. They promote their Steak & Eggs, Pork Chops & Eggs, Grilled Chicken & Eggs, Omelettes (Cheesesteak, Chili Cheese, Jalapeno and Ham & Cheese), Egg Sandwiches, Hash Browns and classic EggsnBacon or Ham & Egg plates. They're also pretty proud of their biscuits, sausage and bacon sides. Then, over there in the corner, they get around to their Waffles. Their basic is the classic Butter Milk Waffle. There are Double Waffles and Waffles With Sausage or Ham or Eggs. You can pick from Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry and Strawberry. Actually, we regret the evolution of Waffle House. Way back there, they served ONLY waffles, two pages of every variation imaginable. We could try waffles here we could never find anywhere else and couldn't fix ourselves. Now they've diversified, but the waffle choices are narrowed. Luckily, they still do a good job, with waffles and everything else. There are TWO Waffle Houses at Hamburg.

Bob Evans uses a down home country America theme, giving old fashioned farm cooking a 21st Century twist. Breakfasts are so bounteous they have a cult following; in every town there is a group of people who begin every day at Bob Evans. Lunch is very traditional, but it's Dinner where Bob Evans really shines. Of appetizers, we like their Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Fries, Country Fair Cheese Bites and Loaded Baked Potato Bites (breaded and fried potatoes stuffed with cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon, scallions and buttermilk ranch dressing). Deep Dish Dinners, Deep Dish Pastas and Slow Roasted Dinners put you in mind of big family Sundays out on the farm. Soups and salads are excellent, and the open face sandwiches are the best still being commercially served of what was once a staple in every small town restaurant in the country. The Meat Loaf (made with sausage and Angus beef) is outstanding. This may be the best of all chain restaurants, and their Winchester Road location is one of their best landscaped and most photogenic.

Bonefish Grill is a conneisseur's seafood restaurant. The menu is not extensive, and depends on availability that day in Baltimore or Norfolk. They use a wood burning grill skillfully. Your big choice is the sauce. We like their lime tomato garlic, but you might try the mango salsa, lemon butter or pan Asian. We like their Salmon, Swordfish, Sea Bass and Scallops. Bonefish also does a special job with their sides. They use locally grown vegetables and when unavailable they bring in the best they can from elsewhere. Owners Tim Curci and Chris Parker are not into down homey. They're into Polished Casual. You'll think you're in Charleston or Savannah.

Ted's Montana Grille is more than a steak house. It offers very good burgers, chicken, salmon, trout, and classic root beer floats. Its slow roasted bison pot roast and bison meatloaf are two of the finest items on any menu in town. And despite the outside appearance of the building, once inside, you're in a replica of an old Western saloon. Eating in the Montana Grill is a fine restaurant adventure. There are classic American foods like Meat Loaf. But the bottom line is : If you want a good steak at a reasonable price, this is the place to come. Their prime rib at 10, 12 or 16 oz., USDA choice tenderloin at 7 or 9 oz., and Harris Premium Kansas City 11 oz. Strip and Delmonico 14 oz. Ribeye are competitive with anything in town. But the real draw here is the Bison. You can walk into several rival steakhouses and match the regular steaks. But nobody else in town offers Bison steaks. Turner uses Great Range Brand, famous for grass raised, chemical free, open range, zero cholesterol bison. You can get it in a 9 oz. tenderloin filet, 11 oz. Kansas City Strip, or 14 oz. Delmonico Ribeye. Ted's Montana Grille
Carabba's offers a little different twist on Italian eating : this is Sicilian / Cajun / Texan food, concocted by the Mandolo family over a century of handing down recipes from the old country and adapting them to ingredients available around Galveston. Today Damian and son Johnny preside over a sort of 21st Century Neo-Italian menu. Of the appetizers we like the Calamari Ricardo (in spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce) and Crab Cakes Sicilia (seared in a cast iron skillet and served in roast red bell pepper sauce). The Minestrone is good but the Soup of the Day is usually even better. Our favorite salad is the Insalata Rocco (mixed greens with grilled shrimp and scallops, roast red bell peppers, olives and ricotta salata cheese in vinaigrette). Even though this is an Italian restaurant we think they do their best job with their grilled entrees. The Grilled Salmon, Chicken Bryan (grilled breast topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and basil lemon butter sauce) are good, But we think Carabba's finest achievement is their Spiedino di Mare (shrimp and sea scallops grilled and topped with lemon butter sauce). Save room for dessert.
Old Chicago style pizza evolved during the depression. It is not original Italian style pizza, but evolved from Scarciedda (Easter Pie). Made in a deep cast iron skillet, it has high sides (usually three inches), thick corn meal crust heavy on olive oil, and is more like a casserole. It is heavier on mozzarella cheese, uses a chunky tomato sauce, and includes lots of sausage and bell peppers. The topping layer is thicker than other pizzas. Exotic toppings like anchovies and capers are missing. These pizzas are slow cooked for longer times. They are not lifted by hand and eaten with the fingers. They must be eaten with knife and fork. The idea was one slice of this pizza was a meal in itself for hungry family members in hard times. Old Chicago has compromised this style for commercial purposes. The pies are not quite as deep, the crusts and topic layer not quite as thick. Still, these are deeper and thicker pizzas than elsewhere. They have also added 21st Century options : Thai, Hawaiin and Artichoke versions, for instance, and there's even a Thin Crust alternative. Eastside Grandmas would be appalled. But you should go. This is VERY GOOD pizza. And their Calzones are the best anywhere. Many pizza conneisseurs believe their Calzones are closer to the original deep dish pizzas than their current pizzas are.
Cosi's ("Cozey's") is probably the heart healthiest lunch stop in town. It's also a vegetarian's delight. Their food is seasoned very lightly or not at all. They serve flatbread and sides like fresh baby carrots. And there are wines and gourmet teas. You also get your food fast. Menus are mounted on large wall posters as you come in, so you order from the counter, pick a table and a waiter brings your tray. It may sound like a fast food outlet, but this is gourmet eating. Cosi's strength is its soups. You MUST order the Lobster Squash Soup, surely one of the top soups in Lexington and alone worth a stop at Cosi's. The Tomato Bisque is also great. From there, you have salads, sandwiches, melts and pizzas. Many regulars think their salads are the best choice. There are eight: Signature, Chicken Caesar, Shanghai Chicken, Greek, Cobb, Bombay Chicken, Tuscan Steak and Salmon. The Signature has gorgonzola, grapes, pears, pistachios, cranberries, mixed greens and sherry shallot vinaigrette. There are 13 sandwiches, the best of which are the Fire Roasted Veggie, Tandoori Chicken, Shrimp, and Italiano. Of the eight Melts, we like the Steakhouse and Pesto Chicken. The Flatbread Lo Cal Pizzas are only available after 5 pm but they're good. Our favorites are the Marghherita and Smoky BBQ. If you can save room for dessert, the Mississippi Mud Pie and Cinammon Apple Pie are worth it.
Cracker Barrel is a familiar site along interstates across the country. This one has all the familiar touches : rocking chairs on a wide roofed porch, gift shop of crafts items inside, and country cabin furniture in the dining room. The menu is Country Farm. Favorites include Fried Chicken, Sugar Cured Country Ham, Chicken n Dumplings, Catfish, Bean Soup, Roast Beef, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, Hickory Smoked Pork Barbecue, Fried Chicken Livers, Homemade Beef Stew, and Meat Loaf. All of these come with fresh vegetables like Corn on the Cob, Green Beans, Fried Apples, Fried Okra, or Mashed Potatoes & Gravy. They prepare their Turnip Greens, Hash Browns, Corn Muffins and Green Beans the old fashioned way, in meat sauce. For dessert there's cake, pie or ice cream. They also serve a great country breakfast. There are biscuits, sausage, ham, eggs, pancakes, hot cereal, fresh fruit and lots and lots of coffee. Cracker Barrel's goal is that eating here reminds you of a visit to Grandma's. They've succeeded.
Culver's might be referred to as Upscale Fast Food. The Wisconsin based menu features a core of fried foods with various custard based desserts and their famous Butterburger, using a heavily buttered bun and high quality beef patties. Culvers restaurants are sit down outlets, but you order from the counter and they bring your food to you. There are five full dinners : Fried Chicken, Cod, Shrimp, Pot Roast and Chopped Steak. There are six burgers and two melts, 10 sandwiches and a Grilled Reuben Wrap. Five Salads, a Soup of the Day and four classic sides (Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Cole Slaw, Green Beans and Fries) round out the menu.
Fazolli's offers a full menu of Italian fast food, although the manager takes issue with the phrase. He insists he serves "Italian food, freshly prepared, fast." It gets its menu and basic ingredients from the corporation, but the pastas, sauces, breadsticks and salads are prepared during the day and the main dishes are not placed in the oven until you order them. Fazolli's carries all the traditional Italian favorites and adds a few unique twists of their own. The core of the menu is the eight pasta entrees baked and served in a white ceramic casserole dish. Of this core, we think their best are their Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Parmiagano and Rigatoni Romano, although we have friends who swear by their Ravioli & Meat Sauce. You might consider the Sampler Platter, which includes a small portion of several major entrees. The Sliced Italian Sausage & Pasta, and the Tortellini & Sun Dried Tomato Rustico are newer creations which have found a loyal following. Fazolli's offers the usual Subs, Pizzas, and desserts like Italian Lemon Ice.

I. Ching bills itself as "Asian With Attitude." We'd rather describe it as Upscale Asian Fast Food. The menu is a mixture of Japanese, Mongolian and Manchurian. You study the offerings, place your order, pick it up at the counter and find a table or booth. The atmosphere includes lots of glass, wood and polished metal. The menu offers several wraps, salads, and noodle entrees. You can get chicken, lean beef, shrimp or veggie meals. Probably the best item on the menu is the Salmon, but the Calamari is also tempting. Appetizers include egg rolls and pot stickers. Beverages are limited to iced tea, lemonade, or bottled water.

Ichiban is a classic Japanese steak house. It has the usual Sushi bar, the colorful waiters who prepare your meal in front of you at your table, or traditional Japanese meals served without the performance. Of their appetizers, we like the Shumai (steamed crab dumplings) and Yakitori (chicken shish kebabs). All their Hibachi dinners begin with a Japanese Soup, Shrimp Flambe, Salad with Ginger Dressing, Steamed Rice, Hot Tea, and Hibachi Vegetables. You then pick your entree from chicken, beef or seafood. We like their Scallops but friends love the Lobster. You can also go a completely different direction and order a Sushi Dinner. If you're new to Sushi, you can try the Sushi Beginner's Dinner. There are four other preset Sushi dinners, or if you're an experienced Sushiite, you can assemble your own from 20 choices. Authentic drinks include Sake, Plum Wine, or Japanese Beer. For kids there are nonalcoholic specials like Karate Kids or Cherry Blossoms.
Johnny Carrino's is the youngest Italian restaurant in town but it's done quite well. Much of their success is due to their menu, which offers items nobody else does. The Crab Fondue is one of those : crabmeat, cheese, pico de gallo, parmesan, and garlic. They're quite proud of their oven here. They display it prominently and offer 13 entrees baked in it. Of those, we think the Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia is the best. The fish is pan sauteed with garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos and spinach in lemon butter cream sauce, then served over angel hair pasta. But the Chicken Scaloppini and Skilletini are also appealing. Carrino's offers 12 Family Platters designed to serve three, but easily capable of serving four. For traditionalists, there are 13 classic Italian items, ranging from Lasagna, Tortelloni and Rigatoni to Ravioli, Gorgonzola and Parmigiana. The Ravioli are especially interesting. They're stuffed with crabmeat, spinach and diced tomatoes, topped with lemon basil cream sauce. Three fire grilled steaks are available as are five grilled Paninis. Save a spot for dessert. There's Apple Skillentini, Turtle Cheesecake, Chocolate Cannoli and Mascarpone (bread pudding).
Logan's is a classic Texas roadhouse, featuring flame grilled steaks with other menu items for wives and children. Logan's revels in a redneck male atmosphere, so good old boys can get back to their roots here. The steaks are USDA but are midwest corn fed, rather than high country grass fed or feedlot chemical fed. The house specialty is an 8 oz. sirloin laid atop a bed of Michelob braised onions and brushed with garlic butter. Then there's a straight 6 or 8 oz. sirloin, 8 oz. teriyaki club steak, 12 oz. New york Strip, 6 or 8 oz. Filet Mignon, 12 or 16 oz. Ribeye, 16 oz. T bone, 20 oz. Porterhouse, and 12 or 16 oz. Prime Rib.

Malone's is a famous Lexington steakery which now has three outlets. Malone's is proud of its inclusion in several national top 10 lists, which start with the Texas Land & Cattle Co. in San Antonio, include two or three other Texas restaurants, and fill the remaining slots with places from the largest cities. Lexington is the smallest city to have an entry. Malone's is unquestionably good at preparing and seasoning its steaks, but its secret is in the meat's high quality before it ever gets to Lexington. Malone's buys top grade USDA Prime and Wagyu Kobe Beef, which are expensive, and account for higher menu prices. They offer 11 cuts of Chicago Prime, two of Wagyu Kobe, six kinds of filet medallions, three steak-seafood combos and a lamb t-bone. The rest of the menu is excellent, too. The Soup of the Day is always good, and, while it may be overkill here, the Steak & Potato Soup would be delicious anywhere else. Sides and salads included with the steaks are excellent. The porch shown here opens off of Harry's, the Malone bar.

We've never been able to figure out exactly what Max & Irma's theme is. Their appeal in the past has always been their wacky ambience. The first restaurants had phones at each table and booth from which customers could phone other tables and booths. They collected antiques and artifacts from yard sales and auctions and hung them on walls and from celings. It was always a fun place to go, but the food was secondary. Lately, there has been a definite attempt to tone down the atmosphere (the phones are gone and the celing is free of hanging sleds and bicycles) and emphasize the menu. Have no doubt : the food here is definitely worth a visit. There's no central focus. You can get chicken, steak, seafood, barbecue, pizza, a few entrees from every category. Of their appetizers, we like the Barbequed Chicken Quesadillas and Black Bean Rollups. The Apple Pecan and Hula Bowl Salads are pretty impressive, as are the French Onion and Tortilla Soups. As far as entrees, the six ounce sirloin makes a good dinner for most people and even though this is not a barbeque house, their Barbequed Ribs are very good. The pan seared and herb marinated Alaskan Halibut may be their best item but the Singapore Salmon is excellent. If you're a chicken lover, however, you have to try their Caribbean Chicken (two pineapple marinated breasts grilled and topped with tropical fruit salsa).

Mongolian Grill is quite a show. It claims to honor Mongolian national hero Genghis Khan. Khan and his men turned their shields over their campfires each night and heated dinner on them during their invasion of China. A thousand years later, you walk around various cafeteria tables, picking meats, seafoods, veggies, sauces and other items. You hand them to a griller, who spreads them on a hot steel shield and turns them with giant metal tongs. The grillers continuously chant a Mongolian war song, the wallpaper has an Asian warrior theme, and a soundtrack echoes hoofbeats, war cries and drums. However, behind all this theatre, there's some serious food lurking. You can pile your shield high with tuna, shrimp, calamari, steak, and whatever else you want. Khan and his men probably did not enjoy the soups, desserts or Starbucks coffee available to you, but it does enhance the dining experience.
Outback has a very diverse menu with an Australian theme. A Bloomin Onion is a must. They're cooked until golden, then served with dipping sauce. Several of the Soups of the Day are really unique. But the steaks are the show. They include a Slow Roasted Sirloin, 12 oz. center cut Outback Special, 9 oz. Victoria Center Cut Filet, 8, 12 or 16 oz. Prime Rib, 14 oz. Ribeye, 12 oz. New york Strip, 20 oz. Melbourne Porterhouse, and Filet Medallions. Then there are Salmon, Crab Cakes, Rack of Lamb, Grilled Pork Chops, Lobster Tails, Alaskan King Crab, Baby Back Ribs, various burgers, and an obscene dessert called the Sydney Sunday. The Outback empire was founded by a UK graduate.
Rafferty's spends most of its marketing dollars proclaiming its Happy Hours and its great mixed drinks, like its Margarita Grande. We think that's a mistake. There is some very good eating here. It starts with the appetizers, of which we really like their Pickled Paw Prints (fried dill pickle discs in a creamy smoked tomato horseradish sauce). The official Rafferty's Potato Soup (potato chunks, cheese and bacon squares) is rich but delicious. And their official Rafferty's Chicken Salad (chopped chicken, greens, mixed nuts, fruits, melons, and a sweet orange dressing) is one of the better salads in town. Among their entrees, we think they do their best job with their seafood. The Catfish Platter usually comes fried but you can request it grilled or broiled. The Salmon is marinated in an orange bourbon roux. But their best entree is their Catch of the Day. They brush it with olive oil, then grill it. Rafferty's offers the usual Ribs, Chicken, Pork Chops and Steaks, of which the most interesting are a ribeye marinated in pineapple juice and the Jackson Hole Filet, an 8 oz. center cut rotisseried over hickory coals. Save room for dessert. There are two which should be outlawed : the White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, and the Kentucky Silk Pie. You can also stop by Rafferty's to stock up with Tailgating Trays and Picnic Baskets.
Raising Cane's has one of the most interesting histories of any fast food chain in town. While a student at LSU, Craig Silvey turned in a business plan for a restaurant serving only one item : chicken fingers. The professor was not impressed and gave him a C-. But Silvey and buddy Todd Graves spent a Summer in Alaska working on Salmon boats to raise the money, and opened the restaurant anyway. It became a huge success and they opened a few more. Silvey graduated and sold out to Graves. He went on to Wake Forest for an MBA, then moved to California. A year later Graves called asking him to come back to the company. Graves had expanded to 60 locations and was being overwhelmed. So Silvey returned to the company he helped found. Today they're up to 100 locations, but their core menu still consists of three items : The Plate, The Box and The Sandwich. All come with the top secret Cane's Sauce. They've added a Kid's Box and a Tailgating Box, which are just smaller and larger variations on the original Box. Oh? The Name? They were going to name their restaurant Salmon's after the fish that provided them their funds, but were advised that would confuse people about their product, so they named it after Craig's dog.

Saul Good's features a very upscale menu of two soups, six appetizers, six salads, nine exotic pizzas, four sandwiches, four burgers and nine desserts. Each of them is unique in some way. The French Onion Soup, for example, is made with red, yellow, and green onions, shallots, melted Swiss cheese and sherry. The Beer Cheese Dip is made with aged Cheddar, amber beer, garlic and Worcestershire served with celery, cucumbers, pita chips and crackers. There's also the Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos, a platter of crisp blue corn tortilla chips, marinated steak, tangy beer cheese, five different white cheeses, jalapenos, cilantro, scallions, lime and a sea salt topping. It's an amusement park for pizza lovers. There's the Saul Cheese Pizza (Arrabiata tomato sauce plus five cheeses), Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza, Parisian Pizza, Thai Pizza, Mexican Pizza, Argentinian Steak Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Saul Meat Pizza. Saul's does interesting things with sandwiches. For instance, the Szechwan Steak Sandwich includes marinated grilled steak, spicy shallot soy mirin glaze, sesame ginger dressed spinach on a toasted artisan hoagie. A Saul burger starts with a third pound beef patty with your choice of Cheese and Bacon, Blue Cheese, Hawaiian or Texas style. Or you can substitute a chicken breast for the beef patty but keep the flavoring. The desserts are another fireworks display. There's the Bananas Foster Waffle and Waffle Sundae but the main track is a very decadent chocolate page. It offers Chocolate Pizza, Chocolate Popcorn, Chocolate Beer Float, Kahula Cupcake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae, Chocolate Fondue, and White Chocolate Cheesecake. There are specials directed at the dinnertime fans : Grilled Salmon, Wild Turkey Top Sirloin and Chicken Waffles. There's also a Saul's Big Breakfast with eggs, maple pepper bacon, potatoes and a Belgian waffle. After the lunchtime crowd disperses, there's a 3-7:00 Afternoon Delite with a rotating series of daily specials at half price.

Shanghai Bistro rejected the standard 101 item menu that most other Chinese restaurants in town use. Instead, they pared theirs down to eight appetizers, four soups, one salad and 30 entrees, and focus on doing these extremely well. Of the appetizers we like the Crab Rangoon (eight flaky wontons filled with crabmeat), Pork Egg Rolls, and Butter Fried Calamari (with mango salsa and sweet thai chili sauce). We also like the Hot & Sour Soup, although we have friends who swear by the Stewed Beef Noodle Vegetable Soup). Of the entrees, we think their best is the Seafood Delight (lobster, shrimp, scallops and vegetables sauteed in wine), but we also highly recommend the Lemongrass Chicken, Eggplant in Garlic, Three Delights (shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables in garlic sauce), Orange Peel Chicken, and General Tso's Chicken. We have friends who love the Bourbon Chicken, Honey Mustard Chicken, and Moo Goo Gai Pan. You can get soft drinks or bottled water but you really should try the Thai Tea. They deliver orders greater than $15, or you can pick it up, or you can eat at the restaurant.

Smashing Tomato is a Lexington chain owned by the managers of Belle Note, the top upscale Italian restaurant in town. Understandably, this is gourmet pizza, wood fired in a classic brick oven (see photo at top). It's Naples and Arrabiata style, which makes an art form of tomato sauce, hence the name. To emphasize the authentic flavors, they use the Italian names for everything. You can choose among Quatro Formaggi (four cheese), Puttenesca (anchovies, capers, onions, olives and oregano), Cortina (sans tomato sauce but with garlic, mushrooms, gorgonzola, sun dried tomatoes and oregano), Toscano (sausage, roast red peppers, basil), Bambino (cheese or pepperoni), Americano (pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone), Parma (arugula, prosciutto), and Marinara (oregano, basil but no cheese). If all this is not enough, you can add your own toppings, choosing from blackened chicken, salami, roast garlic, roast red peppers and 10 others. There are three salads, fresh baked bread, and three classic sandwiches. The Italian language style carries through to their desserts. One person in your party needs to try the Affogato (gelato blended with espresso). This is the only place that has it, and it's quite a different taste. There's also Gelato Sorbet, Chocolate Torte, and a simple but delicate Lemon Tart. As far as beverages, you can get Cappucino, Espresso, Latte, beer, wine, Iced Tea, or a soft drink.

TGI Friday's has the most colorful history of any chain. In 1965, unmarried New York City perfume salesman Alan Stillman decided the best way to meet the sexy single girls in his apartment heavy neighborhood would be to buy the broken down bar on the corner, refurnish it with Tiffany lamps, expensive antiques and lots of brass railings, and hire well built male waiters equipped with short sleeved partially buttoned shirts. Within a week police set up barricades to control hordes of girls trying to get in the place. By 1970 he opened a second TGIF in Memphis, and in '73 a third in Dallas. Thursday "Midnight Parties" have become a tradition. Friday's makes its drinks and Happy Hours a marketing focus. But the food's worth stopping here, too. Of the appetizers, we like the Pot Stickers (Chinese pork dumplings steamed, then pan fried and served with dipping sauce). TGIF serves a great Broccoli Cheese Soup. Of six salads, our favorite is the Santa Fe (greens, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans, diced chicken, olives, avocado and cheese). There's seafood, ribs, steak, chicken, pasta and six entrees basted, glazed or marinated in Jack Daniels before grilling.
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