THE SPOT: Barbecue hounds have been elbowing their way into Tom's Ribs (multiple locations, including 2535 N.W. Loop 410, 210-344-7427) for years. The wood-paneled dining room is packed from 4 to 7 p.m., when happy-hour deals include $2 drafts.
THE SPECS: Ribs may be the namesake dish, but brisket is king. At Tom's, smoky brisket crowns the Texas-size nachos ($7), along with monterey jack, cheddar and pinto beans.
THE SPOT: When not touring festivals, mobile restaurant Colorado Buffalo Grill (corner of Ponderosa and Parker roads, 720-427-2664) parks downtown and serves up buffalo burgers and brats.
THE SPECS: Co-owner LeeAnn Trynoski layers freshly fried chips with buffalo meat cooked with stewed tomatoes, and tops it with cheddar and sour cream ($6).
THE SPOT: At Ocean Pride Seafood (1534 York Road, 410-321-7744), locals stop by to crack a few crab legs while watching the Orioles game on big plasma TVs.
THE SPECS: Count on Marylanders to add crab meat to any dish, including these nachos ($10), packed with cheddar, scallions and spicy jalapeños.
THE SPOT: Aaron Woo, owner of eco-friendly Vita Cafe (3024 N.E. Alberta St., 503-335-8233), built the patio fence from recycled windows and doors, and powers the restaurant with renewable energy.
THE SPECS: Both vegans and omnivores order nachos ($8) topped with three-bean chili, guacamole, tomato salsa and spicy soy-milk-based "cheese" sauce.
* Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in May 2008.