Cafe Jordano
Cafe Jordano doesn't take reservations, because if it did, there'd never be an open table for the neighbors, the folks who arrive a half-hour before the start of dinner and count heads to make sure they'll get a seat at that all-important first turn of the dining room. Over the years, we've learned the drill at Cafe Jordano and know that very nearly everything this strip-mall trattoria does -- from the smallest touch of service to the most labor-intensive entree -- is wonderful and well-considered. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the place is how it treats families. It doesn't matter if you walk through the door at the head of a party of twelve just in from a family reunion or leading a herd of squalling, snot-nosed rugrats: There's no customer, or group of customers, that the Jordano staff isn't happy to see.

Cafe Jordano doesn't take reservations, because if it did, there'd never be an open

table for the neighbors, the folks who arrive a half-hour before the start of dinner and count heads to make sure they'll get a seat at that all-important first turn of the dining room. Over the years, we've learned the drill at Cafe Jordano and know that very nearly everything this strip-mall trattoria does -- from the smallest touch of service to the most labor-intensive entree -- is wonderful and well-considered. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the place is how it treats families. It doesn't matter if you walk through the door at the head of a party of twelve just in from a family reunion or leading a herd of squalling, snot-nosed rugrats: There's no customer, or group of customers, that the Jordano staff isn't happy to see.

You may be someone's parents now, but you're still entitled to grown-up good food -- and the space to enjoy it. Hillcrest Grill is just the place for you. This neighborhood eatery not only has a decent kids' menu, but a fabulous children's play area -- a virtual kid corral -- where ankle-biters can go when they're done gnawing on their chicken strips. And while they're playing, you can get down to the serious work of eating the sort of adult entrees you deserve, everything from pastas and salads to steak and salmon -- with big, stiff drinks.

You may be someone's parents now, but you're still entitled to grown-up good food -- and the space to enjoy it. Hillcrest Grill is just the place for you. This neighborhood eatery not only has a decent kids' menu, but a fabulous children's play area -- a virtual kid corral -- where ankle-biters can go when they're done gnawing on their chicken strips. And while they're playing, you can get down to the serious work of eating the sort of adult entrees you deserve, everything from pastas and salads to steak and salmon -- with big, stiff drinks.

The Breakfast King is everything that a rust-belt boy, a trucker's son, an aficionado of greasy spoons or anyone with a little blue in his collar could hope for in a diner. First and foremost, it's open 24/7. Second, the waitresses know how to treat a regular and how to make those who aren't regulars feel like one anyway. Third, the place is ugly in exactly the way you want it to be when sinking into a booth on a Friday at midnight or early on a Sunday morning. With its orange-on-orange color scheme, straight-'70s wood paneling and white-polyester Coffee Angel waitress uniforms, the King is a working-class Neverland for diner junkies -- where time has been stopped for the last thirty years, and no one who doesn't want to grow up ever has to.

The Breakfast King is everything that a rust-belt boy, a trucker's son, an aficionado of greasy spoons or anyone with a little blue in his collar could hope for in a diner. First and foremost, it's open 24/7. Second, the waitresses know how to treat a regular and how to make those who aren't regulars feel like one anyway. Third, the place is ugly in exactly the way you want it to be when sinking into a booth on a Friday at midnight or early on a Sunday morning. With its orange-on-orange color scheme, straight-'70s wood paneling and white-polyester Coffee Angel waitress uniforms, the King is a working-class Neverland for diner junkies -- where time has been stopped for the last thirty years, and no one who doesn't want to grow up ever has to.


Mezcal
Danielle Lirette
Simplicity counts, and Mezcal's kitchen re-creates the simplest of Mexican street fare with its tacos. Owner Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz (who consults in the kitchen) don't overreach, don't try to make a taco anything more than what it should be: an edible envelope stuffed with meat and greens. But the components -- soft corn tortillas, grilled meats, fresh salsas and shredded cabbage -- are top-quality, and the atmosphere adds all the extra flavor you could want. Sometimes the best things are the most basic -- and that rule was never truer than at Mezcal.

Simplicity counts, and Mezcal's kitchen re-creates the simplest of Mexican street fare with its tacos. Owner Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz (who consults in the kitchen) don't overreach, don't try to make a taco anything more than what it should be: an edible envelope stuffed with meat and greens. But the components -- soft corn tortillas, grilled meats, fresh salsas and shredded cabbage -- are top-quality, and the atmosphere adds all the extra flavor you could want. Sometimes the best things are the most basic -- and that rule was never truer than at Mezcal.


El Taco De Mexico
Courtesy El Taco de Mexico Facebook
El Taco de México doesn't do much to attract customers. It doesn't take credit cards. It doesn't advertise. It doesn't serve liquor. It doesn't provide more than a scant few places to sit. And still the customers keep coming -- because the one thing this taquería does do is offer the best taste of real Mexico available north of la frontera, served by a crew of ladies tougher and more serious about their business than an entire culinary-school graduating class put together. One of our particular faves (although not one of the house's more authentic offerings) is the smothered chile-relleno burrito, which is downright addictive. You can't stop eating it no matter how full you are, and you can't stop yourself from ordering it again the next time you come in. And return you will.

El Taco de México doesn't do much to attract customers. It doesn't take credit cards. It doesn't advertise. It doesn't serve liquor. It doesn't provide more than a scant few places to sit. And still the customers keep coming -- because the one thing this taquería does do is offer the best taste of real Mexico available north of la frontera, served by a crew of ladies tougher and more serious about their business than an entire culinary-school graduating class put together. One of our particular faves (although not one of the house's more authentic offerings) is the smothered chile-relleno burrito, which is downright addictive. You can't stop eating it no matter how full you are, and you can't stop yourself from ordering it again the next time you come in. And return you will.


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