The non-gendered sports bar
Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, a Louisiana-based sports bar chain, boasts an equal ratio of men to women customers, according to co-owner Drew Brees, the quarterback for New Orleans Saints. Young waitresses billed as “America’s Cheerleaders” serve Walk-On’s customers in an atmosphere Brees says is great for families. He describes the menu as gender-neutral, with hand-pattied burgers and housemade sides and dressings.
The innovative eatertainer
This year Punch Bowl Social, a Denver-based chain that combines high-craft food and drinks with old-school games, will open a unit in the former air traffic control tower at Denver’s Stapleton International Airport. The structure, which has been unoccupied for more than 20 years, will serve as the brand’s corporate headquarters. Punch Bowl Social is developing two acres of land, which will feature outdoor gaming as well. CEO Robert Thompson says the outdoor space will help develop year-round sales for Punch Bowl, which draws more robust business during the winter.
The upscale diner
Snooze offers its Western clientele a high-end a.m. experience with menu items such as pancake flights and complex morning cocktails. But the brand also stands out for the customization it encourages. On a recent visit, one patron replaced his toast with slices of tomato, and another spec’d exactly how the ingredients should be layered in a scrambled egg platter. The waiter didn’t blink, even though the place was slammed. In some locations, customers play table tennis and corn hole as they wait for a table.
The elevated burger slingers
Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers is fairly straightforward about its focus. However, the four-unit, Phoneix-area chain’s focus on quality and variety of beers has set it apart. On the food side, the a la carte options range from sliders to a Steakhouse Truffle Burger featuring Gruyere, truffle oil and thyme-roasted tomato. But if a patron can’t find exactly what he or she wants among the 19 burger selections on the menu, they can grab a pencil and ordering sheet and spec a custom variety. The half-pound burgers can be served with fries or a variety of other sides for a $2 upcharge. Otherwise, they’re served with chips.
The price-conscious cafeteria
Urban Plates, a 6-unit California-based chain, focuses on scratch-made cafeteria-style service. Eater has reported the chain falls somewhere between Lemonade and Tender Greens. Hand-tossed salads, hand-carved sandwiches and plates such as free-range chicken and grilled wild albacore or steak all start at $11. Another feature that has this brand at the tip of attendees’ tongues is the interactive ordering process, where open-kitchen staff encourages taste tests and questions.