Pigging out is a cheap, sordid kind of thrill. It's fine to plunge head-on into troughs of food every once in a while ... just unbutton your pants a little first or you might hurt yourself.
By Laura Marrich and Steven Robert Allen, Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Hillari Straba, Jennifer Wohletz
Best Local All-You-Can Eat
Stuffing your gut has never been classier than when you’re doing it at Tucanos. Home of the best salad bar on the planet, this meat-on-a-blade venue even has a red light, green light system for pacing your gut from roasted chicken to rare sirloin, with every meat in between.
2. Furr's Cafetiera
3. Tomato Café
Best Lunch Buffet
Getting loaded at lunchtime is back in vogue, and in this town, you have choices our grandparents could only have dreamed of. Tired of the usual chicken-fried stuff, you voted Taj Mahal for top honors and noontime heralds, so go ahead, get the extra plate of naan. You know you want to.
1. Taj Mahal
3. Furr's Cafeteria
4. India Palace Westside
5. Tie: Bangokok Café, Bombay Grill, Tucanos
Being a piggy at the trough was never as much fun until Sadie's came along. What did we all do to get a mountain of a meal before them? We don’t remember, and reading our history books isn’t nearly as much fun as doing field research on the topic.
3. Great American Land and Cattle Co.
... if you must. Corporate restaurants have spent millions of dollars in research to determine what their customers want. If you look closely enough at a chain, you should begin to see a resemblance it bears to the patrons who eat there. Some are big and bland, and a little outdated. Some have ADD and need the constant stimulation of loud music, a bright color scheme and toys. We don't know what PF Chang's says about you, other than you like Chinese food and an abundance of pottery. But that's not a bad thing, is it?
1. PF Chang's
2. Tie: Flying Star Café, Wendy's
3. Tie: Blake's Lotaburger, Macaroni Grill
4. Tie: Dion's, Pappadeaux
Best Fried Item
If there were a fried food shortage somewhere in the United States, we're convinced all eyes would look to our neck of the woods for aid. Seems we'll bread and fry anything, serve it with ranch and call it an appetizer, according to our results. Proving that "South" is a component of "Southwest," we Burqueños love us some fried chicken. Golden Pride shared the first-place glory with Popeye's with their crispy, juicy, feathered friends. Of course, they pluck them first.
1. Tie: Golden Pride, Popeye's
2. Tie: Hurricane's, Slate Street Café, the State Fair
3. Tie: 66 Diner, Bob's Fish and Chips, O'Niell's Pub
Best Hangover Cure
Ay, yay yay. There's nothing wrong with a ladies' night out, but when you're wearing sunglasses indoors the next day you know you've got the crudo. When the only cure for one-too-many rounds of single-malt scotch is a short stack of waffles, some eggs and a small bucket of chile, you head to Frontier. Then again, you probably went there while you were still out partying the night before. An ounce of prevention is better than a pounding headache, we suppose.
2. Golden Pride
3. Huevos Rancheros
Best Greasy Spoon
When we say “greasy spoon,” we're speaking metaphorically. If you ever find an actual greasy spoon in a restaurant, you should probably take your business elsewhere. Here, we're talking about “greasy spoon” in the friendly, hygenic, all-American sense—a place where you can get yourself a fat burger and catch up with happenings in the neighborhood all in one casual down-home sitting. The 66 Diner, located between Downtown and the University, serves up bobby-sockin', rockabillyin' dishes of sweet ol'-timey goodness better than anyone.
1. 66 Diner
3. Mannie's Family Restaurant
4. Route 66 Malt Shop
5. Dog House Drive In
Best Dessert That Will Surely Send You to Hell
Which dessert did we liked the most? Was it the chocolate cake? The lemon tart? The white-frosted thingie with the berries? Does it really matter? Burning in the fiery pits of Hades for all eternity will be a short trip every time you walk into a Flying Star Café, because temptation is ours, dahling!
1. Flying Star Café
2. The Range Café
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Delphia Giovanna • singer-