I was recently invited to a blogger dinner at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. I had dined at Freddy’s once before, but this was the first time taking the entire family. It was on a Tuesday, which is their family night with balloons, toys, coloring pages, and the best part – a free kids dessert!

Inside

Inside

We started with the cheese curds, which came highly recommended by our host. Their cheese curds are premium white cheddar cheese, lightly covered with butter crumbs and fried to a gooey golden perfection. About the size of a tater tot, the cheese curds can be popped into your mouth and savored, with or without a dipping sauce. A great start to our dinner!

Cheese Curds

Cheese Curds

For my meal I tried the new spicy chicken sandwich. This it normally just topped with pickle planks, but I chose to have it loaded with more veggies and some Freddy’s sauce on top. The sandwich has a nice cayenne pepper kick – a kick, just enough for those looking to spice it up a bit, but not too hot for those who typically shy away from all-things spicy.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

My daughter enjoyed the kid’s cheeseburger meal, which includes a small order of fries and a drink. The small order of fries is not really small at all. We had so many fries at our table, and my wife didn’t even order any.

Kid's Burger

Kid’s Burger

My son enjoyed the grilled cheese meal. Normally this is a a mix of Swiss and American cheese, but they were happy to make his with just American. Everything at Freddy’s is cooked to order, so while it can take a bit longer to prepare, it is always fresh and just the way you like it!

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

After finishing our meals, we were all treated to our choice of frozen custard desserts. Frozen custard is smoother and richer than ice cream, thanks to a time-tested churning process that minimizes ice crystals and excess air.

Custard Machine

Custard Machine

My daughter was so excited to make her own dirt n’ worms sundae with vanilla custard, Oreo cookies, gummi worms, whipped cream, and a cherry. I went with the chocolate brownie delight concrete with chocolate custard, brownie, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. A concrete is Freddy’s fresh and creamy frozen custard blended with mix-ins like chocolate fudge, caramel, candy pieces or fruit. The name “concrete” came about because the finished treat is so thick it can be served upside down!

Dirt 'n Worms

Dirt ‘n Worms

We had a great time at Freddy’s and now is your chance to win a $50 Freddy’s gift card!

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Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

While I don’t make it down to Taft’s Ale House very often I do like their beers. I was happy when they opened Taft’s Brewpourium about a year ago. It’s closer to home and easier for my family to get to. Also I much prefer the pizza menu over the beef heavy menu at the Ale House.

Tomato Pie with Mozzarella

Tomato Pie with Mozzarella

The Brewpourium is in an old warehouse style building with lots of open space for both kids and adults to play. There is shuffleboard, darts, giant jenga, cornhole, etc. Picnic table seating is available throughout the space. They primarily serve apizza, which is also called New Haven-style. Essentially it is thin crust and rapid fired.

BBQ Pork Pie

BBQ Pork Pie

My wife and I split the BBQ Pork Pie with pulled pork, Cherrywood Amber Ale BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and cilantro ($20 for 16″). I really enjoyed this pizza and it was more than enough for the 2 of us. In fact we took half of it home with us.

Knots

Knots

Our kids split a tomato pie with mozzarella ($8 for 10″) and also loved the house made garlic knots ($6). On later visits we have been known to get two orders of knots, as everyone in the family really enjoys them. I will also say that The Roebling pizza with ricotta is awesome! We are definitely fans of the Brewpourium.

Taft's Brewpourium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Since moving to Hyde Park the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings was my go to spot for wings. But now that Buffalo Wings & Rings has opened up I have a new favorite spot. The location is tucked back in Oakley Station and is in a brand new building. The inside is large, open, and very clean. There are plenty of seating options available with a large bar, high top tables, booths, and smaller tables.

Inside

Inside

My wife has never been a fan of wing restaurants, but one great thing about Wings & Rings is that there is plenty of variety on the menu. Take this southwestern veggie burger for example, with cucumber, avocado, cheddar jack cheese, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato, and pickle ($9.99). The black bean patty was nothing out of the ordinary, but the toppings definitely kicked it up a notch. She was also happy to get steamed broccoli on the side instead of fries or chips.

Southwestern Veggie Burger

Southwestern Veggie Burger

On our first visit I went with the buffalo chicken club with fried tenders in hot sauce, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bleu cheese dip ($9.99). Their buffalo tenders are outstanding, fresh fried and juicy. This is a great sandwich and the potato wedges on the side are also tasty.

Buffalo Chicken Club

Buffalo Chicken Club

In many return visits my go to order has become 3 tenders in hot garlic-q sauce with a side of bleu cheese dip and celery ($7.29). My kids are fans of the mini corn dogs and the chicken tenders. My daughter loves that she can get a kids salad on the side with her meal. We are all big fans of Wings & Rings!

Buffalo Wings & Rings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Wheel started as a pop-up restaurant hosting private dinners and they have expanded to now offer takeaway orders four days a week. All of their bread and pizza doughs are hand mixed and baked fresh daily. And the menu changes daily.

Outside

Outside

The Wheel is pretty well hidden on the eastern edge of Oakley on Brotherton Road, tucked between homes and small apartment complexes. There is a small parking lot, or street parking out front.

Inside

Inside

The brick exterior actually doesn’t look much different from the neighboring four family homes. The interior is clean, new, and modern. Menu boards are updated daily with the offerings of the day.

Tomato Pane

Tomato Pane

I couldn’t decide between the two pane offerings of the day, so I ordered a slice of each! The tomato pane is amazingly delicious! The stewed tomato sauce for this is super thick and also contains oregano, garlic, and olive oil. It is lightly topped with cheese and dried herbs.

Coppa & Peppers Pane

Coppa & Peppers Pane

The coppa & peppers pane had a base of the same thick crust, a little tomato sauce, and provolone. The coppa is a salami like meat and was complimented with banana peppers. This was also a good slice of pie, but I have to recommend that you try the tomato if you can only handle a single slice. Two slices was more than I could finish for my lunch.

The Wheel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Americano calls itself a burger bar, but they have more than just burgers to offer. My family and I visited on a random Saturday evening while we happened to be downtown for a sporting event. We arrived at 5:30 to find no wait for a table, which was good for us as we were somewhat in a hurry.

Outside

Outside

They are located on Race street just a block away from fountain square. They have a small patio space and a much larger inside dining area. There is a somewhat large bar that flanks the northern wall and booths fill the majority of the remaining space.

Inside

Inside

The kitchen occupies the western portion of the restaurant. It is open air and view-able from the majority of the restaurant. We happened to be sitting within close view, which provided a little entertainment/distraction for our elementary aged children.

Kitchen

Kitchen

We all split an order of pretzel and beer cheese to get started. The pretzel was of good quality and I loved the beer cheese. It was a little too spicy for the kids though, but they were happy to enjoy the pretzel on its own.

Pretzel & Beer Cheese

Pretzel & Beer Cheese

Though there isn’t a kid’s menu posted on their website, they do offer a variety of selections for the little ones. My son enjoyed the plain cheese burger ($6) along with a side of fries ($4). My daughter had the kids mac n cheese ($5). Only tried the fries, which were freshly fried and cooked to perfection!

Kid's Burger

Kid’s Burger

My choice for dinner was the grilled spicy chicken sandwich with pepperjack cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, and jalapeno aioli ($13). I upgraded the included side of fries to hand battered onion rings ($3). I really enjoyed the chicken sandwich and the onion rings were obviously hand breaded and fried to order. Delicious!

Grilled Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Grilled Spicy Chicken Sandwich

My wife enjoyed the housemade veggie burger patty of farro cannellini beans, topped with caramelized onions, brie, tomato, arugula, and mayo ($13). The farm greens side salad was included and was fresh and of decent size. The veggie burger was outstanding and we really enjoyed the toppings as well.

The Veggie Burger

The Veggie Burger

Overall we had a very nice dinner at Americano. The prices are a little higher than normal, but that often comes with an excellent location downtown. This will not be a monthly stop for us, but we will definitely be back in the future.

Americano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As we pulled into the Outer Bank to start our week long vacation, we stopped for lunch in Nags Head on our way to Kill Devil Hills. Our first couple of stops were only serving breakfast or brunch. We moved on to Yellow Submarine and found our lunch just after 12:30 on a Sunday.

Inside

Inside

Our table for ten was ready immediately and many of the other tables were also occupied or would soon be filled with hungry patrons. The long bar stayed empty but would make a good spot for a quick dinner if the tables were all full.

Chicken Philly

Chicken Philly

My wife and I split the chicken Philly, grilled chicken cooked with white onions, sauteed green peppers, and mushrooms. This is topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and white American cheese, served with potato chips (6-inch: $8.49, 12-inch: $13.49). Overall this is a very filling sandwich and the taste was good. There is plenty of cheese on top, which is a requirement for a solid Philly.

Rip Curls

Rip Curls

The start of the meal were the rip curl appetizer we shared with the table. These are pizza dough brushed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, Italian seasonings, and stuffed with Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, sliced into pinwheels then baked (12 count for $17.48). These are awesome and highly recommended! A smaller 6 count is available for a smaller group.

Overall the prices are a little high, but that often comes with tourist destinations. Our service was excellent and the food was good.

Yellow Submarine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Another dining stop we had during our brief stay in Raleigh was at the Raleigh Beer Garden. We actually had tried to go elsewhere, but a popup storm had us quickly changing plans to find a large indoor space for dinner. This place is so big that our party of ten was able to be seated right away just past 5 on a Saturday. We had a cool table with a fake tree growing out of the middle of it.

Tree Table

Tree Table

There are two floors inside, an outdoor rooftop bar, and a large patio on the ground level. They claim to have the worlds largest draft beer selection, and there are plenty of choices for every style. The full list is online and includes over 300 options. Some of my wife’s selections turned out to be pretty expensive, so watch what you order as prices are also listed.

Inside

Inside

The food menu is not nearly as long as the beer list, but there is a wide variety of apps, wings, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and platters. I went with the North Carolina pulled pork sandwich with pickle on a brioche bun. This was served with fries and coleslaw ($10). This was a lot of food for a fair price as the sandwich was piled high and the fry cup seemed to be never ending. The taste was good and seemed fairly true to North Carolina style.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My wife went with the firecracker shrimp platter with fries and coleslaw ($13). I think she jumped the gun on the shrimp order and should have waited until we were closer to the ocean to enjoy. She thought that these were not very fresh and she commented that she should have ordered something else.

Firecracker Shrimp Platter

Firecracker Shrimp Platter

The kids enjoyed their burger and chicken tender meals ($5 with fries). Overall I was impressed by the beer selection and for the most part the food was enjoyable. The pork was a popular item in our group, as was the brisket and burgers.

Raleigh Beer Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our first vacation of the summer took us to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. On our way there we stopped for a night in Raleigh. After driving through the night to get there we immediately headed for breakfast at the Flying Biscuit Cafe, a southern chain of roughly 20 restaurants through 4 states.

Inside

The parking lot was crowded upon our arrival and the restaurant appeared fairly small from the outside. Our group of 10 was told that it would only be 15 minutes wait for a table, and it turned out to be even less than that. The inside is much more spacious than the outside led me to believe.

Biscuits

After placing our drink orders, plates of warm biscuits and apple butter were dropped off for our table. The biscuits were light and fluffy and the apple butter added some great flavor. Our group also enjoyed a selection of mixed drinks including the manmosa with vodka, blue moon beer, and orange juice.

Biscuits & Gravy

For breakfast I went with more biscuits, but this time they came covered in homemade chicken sausage gravy ($5.99). I almost always order biscuits and gravy if it is on the menu, and these did not disappoint. The chicken gravy was a little different than the more traditional pork sausage, but overall I enjoyed it.

Grits

I also had a cup of grits on the side ($2.69). They claim these to be award-winning creamy dreamy grits, and they certainly were creamy. Normally when I order grits I enjoy them with cheddar and jalapeno, so these were a little bland for my tastes. Others in the group enjoyed them more than I did. Though overall we all had a really good breakfast.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our last meal in Colorado was a pleasant surprise. We were staying one night in Stapleton before a morning flight the following day. After searching for nearby restaurants that are good with kids, we settled on Next Door Eatery.

Inside

Our arrival before six was great as the restaurant was nearly empty and it also happened to be happy hour! The inside was very clean and still looked new for the most part. The house made fried pickles and pepperoncinis were a great start to our meal ($4 during happy hour, $5.95 otherwise). I’m a huge fan of fried pickles but I don’t recall having fried pepperoncinis before. I really enjoyed the addition of these. Neither of them begged for the dipping sauce that was provided as they had a great flavor on their own.

Pickles & Pepperoncinis

For dinner I went with Merlin’s Carolina pork with mustard BBQ, cole slaw, crispy onions, and house pickles ($11.95). The sandwich was piled high with well flavored pork. It was very filling and came with a side of chips and simple salad.

Merlin’s Carolina Pork

As good as my dinner was I was pretty jealous of my wife’s order of the ancho chile chicken bowl with brown rice, black beans, corn, fresh pico de gallo, tortilla strips, lime creama, and cilantro ($13.95). The flavor combination in this bowl was outstanding, similar to a taco style bowl from other places, but the ingredients were fresher and the serving size was huge.

Ancho Chile Chicken Bowl

Our kids enjoyed the cheeseburger slider and the kids bowl, though my son really wanted fries with his burger, which are not available. Next time I would try to talk him into trying the crispy smashers. Overall we really enjoyed the food, service, and quality from Next Door Eatery and would definitely visit again.

Next Door Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Before and after our ski trip to Copper Mountain we spent some time in Denver. Upon our arrival we met some friends at the zoo and then met even more friends at the Lowry Beer Garden for lunch. One a nice sunny Denver day this is the perfect place. The outdoor patio is huge and lined with plenty of picnic style tables. The beer selection was good, a kids menu is available, and food comes out fast!

Outside

For lunch I chose the pulled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and pickles on a cornmeal Kaiser bun with a side of Carolina slaw ($9). This was messy but tasted quite good. The side of slaw was immediately dumped on my sandwich and the flavors melted together perfectly. I also stole a bite of a Cubano sandwich ($10) which was equally as good.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

The prices are a bit high since sides are not included, but who can complain when you can get a side of fried pickles for $5! This was more than enough to share and came served with dipping sauce. Our kids enjoyed the grilled cheese with fries and drink for $6.50. Overall we enjoyed our visit and would not hesitate to swing by again on another sunny visit to Denver.

Fried Pickles

Lowry Beer Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato