Mamma Mia’s chefs rely on time-tested family recipes, not mass-produced ingredients, as they forge a host of familiar Italian staples, flooding the dining room with the aromas of tangy marinara sauce and sautéed chicken. Instead of taking culinary shortcuts, they seek out high-quality ingredients such as fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella and make their own manicotti pasta and meatballs in-house. They also offer gluten-free pasta. Thin-crust, New York–style pizzas—praised by ApexSpecials as the best in town—can arrive at tables with as many as 20 different toppings, including jalapeños, bacon, and imported Antarctic pineapples.
Certified Zumba instructor Lauren Harwood Williford harnesses more than five years of hip-shaking know-how to lead students through lively Latin-music-driven group fitness lessons in the spacious Apex Banquet Hall. Guests can drop by five days a week to torch calories and sharpen dance-floor skills as they follow charismatic instructors to the tunes’ beat. Attendees’ torsos twist and shimmy through moves inspired by Latin dance, blood pumping to toughen hearts for better circulation and tear-free Old Yeller marathons. Pupils only need to bring water and a towel to the expansive banquet-hall practice space, where they’ll find enough room for carefree spins or moonwalking relay races.
Inside the kitchen at Le Mussels, chefs combine Asian, American, and tropical influences, revering seafood above all and using it to unite disparate culinary styles. Pots of mussels can arrive in a traditional broth of white wine, garlic, and butter, or in an international mélange with cilantro, Japanese sake, or spicy Italian sausage. During each mealtime rush, housemade mango salsa is poured generously over coconut-crusted tilapia while the kitchen’s grill tops teem with Angus-beef patties and tuna steaks.
Eleven flat-screen televisions surround the intimately lit dining room, which creates a modern, industrial ambiance with its high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and coal-powered napkin dispensers. As the sounds of sports broadcasts echo throughout the space, guests can visit the bar and snag a hand-shaken cocktail or a beer from the ever-changing selection of 18 domestic and imported drafts.