From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of French-American cuisine at brunch or lunch. • For $20, you get $40 worth of French-American cuisine and drinks after 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Restaurant's blend of fine French recipes with hardy American ingredients increases gustatory alliances at tables sprinkled throughout its homey dining rooms. In a contemporary take on the timeless roasted duck a l’orange, Grand Marnier and seasonal fruit accompaniments simmer next to a crispy quarter of tender duck ($16). After being pan seared and flambéed with cognac, the steak au poivre's black-peppercorn-encrusted fillet bathes in delicious blend of crème fraîche and bordelaise sauce next to a potato, pasta, or vegetables ($20). The salmon mosaic weaves strips of wild Alaskan salmon and fresh Canadian walleye into a replica of Starry Night before a light poaching and drizzle of lemon beurre blanc and dill ($18). Capturing the essences of classic French cuisine, the chicken coq au vin slow cooks locally raised chicken with bacon, pearl onions, and mushrooms in a red-wine sauce ($19 for dinner, $13 for lunch).
Housed in a charming red-brick building, Bilotti's Italian Village churns out a menu of American favorites and old country specialties to silence grousing stomachs. Nestled cozily within casual environs, diners can oil rusty jaw hinges with starters such as the fried clams ($5.99 for a small order) and Italian pasta's archenemy, Italian antipasta ($10.99 per two-person platter). Sink saucy incisors into a smattering of entrees, including the chicken italianne ($10.99), featuring fettuccini pasta fraught with chicken, marinara, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, or the amphibious Sea & Shore ($16.99), which marries a 6-ounce fillet of walleye pike and a 7-ounce tenderloin steak to form a delightful duo, like a silent, edible Sonny and Cher. Meanwhile, the pizza oven fires up dough disks, including the Bilotti's Ultimate ($21.24 for a 14-inch pie), on which a righteous triumvirate of pepperoni, canadian bacon, and ground beef dance across a field of green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pineapples. Offered all day, breakfast dishes, such as steak and eggs ($11.99), confound morning news anchors and goad cadres of confused roosters into crowing at sunset. While enjoying delicious bites and discussing the proper way to braid spaghetti, wash down a mighty meal with selections from Bilotti's wine list.
Wow! Zone entertains bodies and minds of all ages, boasting attractions and activities such as bowling, laser tag, miniature golf, and arcade games. Kick off a day of family fun with two games of bowling on one of Wow! Zone's 16 bowling lanes, fully decked with automatic bumpers and 42-inch LCD scoring monitors. Bowling balls and shoes are provided, maintaining unstubbed toes and preventing the need for using balled-up hedgehogs to knock over pins. Strap on a laser lobber for one game in the multilevel laser-tag arena, where players can go at it solo or team up with friends to perform reenactments of favorite battles from the Hundred Years War. An indoor miniature-golf course shimmers with the incandescent glow of Wow! Zone's specially designed black lights, illuminating vibrantly hued jungle-themed obstacles to be conquered by hand-eye cahoots. The super-variety package also includes a $5 gift card to satisfy the voracious appetites of machines in the arcade area, which is stocked with classic attractions such as skee-ball and newer favorites such as Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution ($0.25–$1/play).
The wine gurus at The Wine Cafe instill their deep love of the grape-fermented drink in others with a long-winded wine list and a tastefully matching menu. While slurping down a glass of Woop Woop's Australian chardonnay ($6), diners can snack on deluxe sandwiches such as the salami-stuffed and tapenade-topped Italian ($6.50–$8.50), or accompany a build-your-own pizza ($11) with 16 available garnishes and Gnarly Head's California zinfandel ($6/glass). Chunks of grilled bread and kalamata olives swim in a tasty pool of mediterranean spinach and artichoke dip ($8.95), but only because all the other pools are closed for the summer. For dessert, save wear and tear on your teeth by ordering a banana cream cheesecake ($3.50) and imagining how good it must taste while sipping Casillero del Diablo's merlot ($7) or a beer.
The sound of Laura Provenzano calling out "Mangia, mangia!" would send her children running to the table, their stomachs growling in anticipation of the hearty Italian feast ahead. Today, her great-grandchildren carry on the family tradition at Provenzano's Ristorante, where they whip up a menu of the family's classic Italian dishes infused with a few tasty American additions. Within the restaurant's warm, spacious dining room, glasses of Italian wine meet with plates of pasta and pizzas, along with American-style burgers with Italian flourishes, such as shaved prosciutto. Come Sunday, a lengthy brunch buffet stretches across the floor, simmering with platters of freshly made selections.