At Slappy Cakes in Portland, Oregon, diners will find built-in pancake griddles in the middle of each table, which the staff heat and oil for you upon greeting. From the menu, you can order your own preferred toppings, including chocolate chips and crispy bacon, and batter, including buttermilk, pumpkin, whole-grain (vegan) and gluten-free, which comes in an easy-squirt bottle. But the non-batter-based dishes, like the Slappy Benedict, are not to be overlooked—the restaurant prides itself on using local vendors and organic produce whenever possible. Photo courtesy of SlappyCakes.com.
At The Grate Steak in Norfolk, Virginia, diners have the option of choosing their own piece of meat from the For Fun Cookin' cooler and grilling it themselves on a provided indoor grill. Meat cuts include Delmonico, T-bone, top sirloin and New York strip. Diners can also cook their own garlic toast or top their baked potato with a selection of hot and cold goodies. Photo courtesy of TheGrateSteak.com.
At Hot Pot City in Milpitas, California, diners cook their buffet-selected raw ingredients—including mussels, squid, lamb, fresh vegetables, tofu, noodles and more—in the provided table-centered hot pot by either boiling them in the pot's sizzling broth or barbecuing them on the bottom grill. The two easy and healthy cooking options make this restaurant a Santa Clara county favorite. Photo courtesy of HotPotCityMilpitas.com.
DIY Bloody Marys
Dewey Beach, the well-known oceanside town in Delaware, is even more famous for The Starboard's "Make Your Own" Bloody Mary. According to their website (and a WD staffer), the multitude of options available on the 12-foot wall of ingredients inside the warm-weather-season-only restaurant include different flavors of vodka, hot sauce, horseradish and unique garnishes (think fresh asparagus)—all available for diners to mix in a "signature footed pounder glass." Photo courtesy of TheStarboard.com.
At Camp, a bar and lounge on Smith Street in Brooklyn, New York, that's decorated with animal heads and carcasses to look as though it's set in the great outdoors, diners can get a traditional camping experience—graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows included! It's true: When visitors order the S'mores platter, it's presented with all the campfire fis their hearts desire, including a buffet burner with hot stones and skewers. Photo courtesy of MySpace.com/CamponSmith.
Mark Benhard and Jim Kelley are known to most as the Krazy Kookieteurs—or at least they have been since the launch of their make-it-yourself cookie factory, Kookie Krazy. How does it work? The factory provides a variety of premade dough and over 40 traditional as well as crazy mix-in ingredients for experimental bakers who do everything but put the cookies in the oven. In addition to the Thousand Oaks, California, store, the two cofounders hope to soon open 13 additional factories around the country. Photo courtesy of KookieKrazy.com.
In Mesa, Arizona, crowds flood into outdoor restaurant The Monastery Mesa, which boasts playing courts for volleyball, horseshoe, Ping-Pong, cornhole and other field games. But what really makes this establishment a favorite are the outdoor grills, on which diners must cook their server-provided meat-based dinners, including burgers, chicken and steak! Photo courtesy of RealFunBar.com.
At SweetSpot Baker's Workshop in Irvine, California, visiting bakers can frost and decorate their many flavors of cupcakes using SweetSpot's "rainbow of frosting" options and toppings from their Wall of Sweets. The fun and charitable enterprise (for every dozen cupcakes ordered, one is donated to a local charity) was founded by Will Warne, Janette Chabria and Chris Brown, who all believe in the power of baking as a form of self-expression and communal creativity, according to their website. Photo courtesy of SweetSpotBakery.com.