WHY WE LOVE IT: Do not judge this book by its cover. Housed in the Ramada Inn on U.S. 41, with a game room by the bar and flickers of neon lights (with strategically placed tarps and fishing accoutrements to conceal the fact you’re in a hotel lobby), this place has become a welcome new local restaurant that’s open everyday except Monday from lunch till past midnight. It’s not fancy, but the food is tasty, affordable and, at times, wildly creative.
IDEAL MEAL: The reason this place is one you should pay attention to is its chef, David Lani. With a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and a fan base from his time running the kitchen at 7th Avenue Social, he excels at infusing unexpected elements into comfort food staples. His burrata cheese is fried and swimming in a tomato sauce bobbing with capers and kalamata olives. The menu, which he plans on rewriting for season, is focused on shareables, like several different sliders and empanadas with nontraditional stuffings. (If you’re lucky, the “Elvis Presley” dessert pastry will remain and you need to try it; peanut butter and jelly ooze from every bite and are offset by bacon, diced banana and vanilla ice cream, hitting all taste buds in the process.)
VIBE: Something we noticed off the bat is the service is exemplary: Young women and men go out of their way to make you feel relaxed and welcomed. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to take a client who expects white tablecloths and the whole nine yards, but rather, it’s an ideal place to go with someone who wants the opposite—a quick and interesting lunch or a chill night with rum-spiked cocktails and live music (bands play several times a week).