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    Bill Darden was only 19 when he started his restaurant career in 1939 by opening a 25-seat lunch counter called The Green Frog in Waycross, Georgia. From the start Bill's business was a hopping success. That success helped Bill springboard into other restaurant acquisitions throughout the years including 20 Howard Johnson's restaurants. Then, in 1968, as he reached his mid fifties, Bill took another gamble and opened a seafood restaurant in Lakeland, Florida. When deciding on a name for the new restaurant, someone suggested the name "Red Lobster" since he had great luck in the past with the name "Green Frog." And so it was.

    Here are a couple of great dishes to serve as appetizers or on the side with an entree such as broiled lobster or fish. These recipes include a stuffing that varies in the restaurants only in the type of seafood used—the stuffed shrimp contains crabmeat and the stuffed mushrooms contain lobster meat. If you like, you can use the stuffings interchangeably.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Gerald Kingen is a man with a mission. In 1985 he sold his successful Red Robin chain of restaurants to Tokyo-based Skylark Co. Ltd. Unhappy with the changes the new owners were implementing, Jerry and a partner purchased a "substantial equity position" of the Irvine, California based Red Robin in March of 1996. Now Jerry is once again at the helm of the company, with a goal of reviving old menu items and living up to the old slogan: "The world's greatest gourmet burger maker & most masterful mixologists."

    A unique signature dessert item is the Mountain High Mudd Pie, which servers claim is one of the most ordered desserts on the menu. Save room for this giant-sized sundae made from chocolate and vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, caramel, and fudge sauce. There are several stages of freezing, so give yourself at least seven hours to allow for these steps. This dessert is big and serves at least a dozen, so it's good for a small party or gathering, or as birthday cake. If there's only a few of you, leftovers can be frozen in a sealed container for several weeks.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    Sandy Beall managed Pizza Huts while a freshman at the University of Tennessee to get out of fraternity house duties. It was just three years later that Sandy's boss at Pizza Hut would favor him with a nice gift: $10,000 to invest in a dream. With that, Sandy and four of his fraternity buddies pitched in to open the first Ruby Tuesday on the university campus in Knoxville, Tennesee, in 1972. Sandy was only 21 at the time.

    Here's a great soup that can be served by the cup or in large bowls as a meal in itself. Along with the potatoes is a little bit of minced celery, some minced onion, and a small amount of grated carrot for color. An additional pinch of cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped green onion make a tasty garnish just like on the Ruby Tuesday original.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Chicken breast topped with ham, barbecue sauce, tomatoes, scallions and cheese. Served with fries."

    When the founder of Ruby Tuesday, Sandy Beall, was reviewing some early designs of printed materials for his planned restaurant, he saw that some of the art featured the faces of University of Tennessee students printed in red. At that moment, Sandy knew he wanted to call the eatery "ruby something." Meanwhile, he and the four fraternity friends who joined him in the investment had been listening to lots of Rolling Stones music. One day when Sandy heard "Ruby Tuesday" come on the jukebox, he convinced his partners that they had finally found a name.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Penne pasta tossed in a spicy Southwestern cheese sauce, topped with grilled chicken, spicy black beans, scallions and more."

    The delicious cheese sauce is easy to make using Velveeta and just a few other ingredients. The chicken is prepared over an open grill, then sliced before laying it over a bed of pasta and cheese sauce. And the black beans and peppers are added to give this dish a decidedly Southwestern taste.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    In 1965, Ruth Fertel, divorced with two kids in their teens, was looking for a better way to support herself in her native New Orleans. Her job as a lab technician wasn't paying enough for her to send the kids to college, so she went to the classifieds to find something better. There she found a steakhouse for sale, and thought that this might be her ticket. She mortgaged her house to raise $18,000 (against the advice of her attorney) and purchased the restaurant, then called Chris Steak House. Ruth sold 35 steaks on opening day—not much for a restaurant that now sells 10,000 a day. The restaurant would eventually become a big hit, and within the first year Ruth was making more than twice her salary at the lab.

    In keeping with the New Orleans flavor of many of the Ruth's Chris dishes, this barbecued shrimp is actually Cajun-style broiled shrimp with a little kick to it.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "In cream sauce, topped with melted sharp cheddar."

    There are many ways to order potatoes from the Ruth's Chris menu including steak fries, julienne fries, shoestring fries, cottage fries, Lyonnaise, baked and au gratin.

    Here's a traditional, classic recipe for the delicious side dish inspired by the Ruth's Chris creation. You may use less of the cream and milk mixture in your version depending on the size baking dish you use and the size of your potatoes. Stop adding the creamy mixture in your version when it is level with the sliced potatoes in the baking dish. Be sure to use a casserole dish that has a lid for the first stage of baking.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Menu Description: "Tender steak, lightly breaded and golden fried. Smothered with country milk gravy." 

    Alex Schoenbaum opened the doors to his first restaurant, Parkette, a drive-in in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1947, at the start of a boom in popularity of the classic American drive-in restaurants many of us know only from reruns of Happy Days. Schoenbaum's restaurant did very well and he decided, in 1951, to purchase a Big Boy franchise, the fastest growing chain at the time. In 1953, Parkette changed its name to Shoney's Big Boy.

    Today Shoney's is no longer affiliated with Big Boy, but maintains a menu that features the Southern homestyle favorites that have made it so successful for so long. One of the old-time favorites is the Country Fried Steak smothered in peppered milk gravy. The technique here is to freeze the steaks after they have been breaded with flour. This way the coating won't wash off when the steaks are fried—the same technique the restaurants use.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 8

    Menu Description: "Tender roast beef and carrots slow-simmered and served in a rich brown gravy."

    Remember Mom's delicious pot roast? Shoney's tender slow cooked entree is just as good, if not better than many home recipes. The secret to making tender, flaky pot roast is the long slow-cooking process with frequent basting. This recipe, based on Shoney's popular dish, requires 3 to 4 hours of cooking to make the meat tender. The meat is then flaked apart, put back into the pot with the pan juices and carrots, and cooked more to infuse the meat with flavor. The restaurant recipe uses rump roast, a tough cut of meat that gets tender as it braises. If you like, you can use the more tender and less costly chuck roast. The chuck may take up an hour less time in the oven to tenderize due to its higher fat content.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Vanilla ice cream between two pieces of devil's food cake. Served with hot fudge, creamy topping and a cherry."

    One of Shoney's signature dessert items is this Hot Fudge Cake, a dessert worshipped by all who taste it. To make construction of this treat simple, the recipe calls for a prepackaged devil's food cake mix found in any supermarket baking aisle. Try to find vanilla ice cream in a box, so that the ice cream can be more easily sliced to fit on the cake. Leftovers can be frozen and served up to several weeks later.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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