On the front of Luigi’s menu, patrons read an Italian adage: a day without pasta is like a day without sunshine. It’s fitting then, that they serve more than 20 different pasta dishes. Diners can select noodles entangled with hickory smoked bacon or baby clams, or entreat the kitchen to put together a favorite that’s not on the menu—if they have the ingredients, they’ll gladly make it. Elsewhere in the kitchen, a stone oven bakes pizzas built from fresh dough and tomatoes packaged within six hours of being plucked from the vine. Like the best-smelling apartments, creations can be decorated with custom toppings or signature blends such as mushrooms and thinly sliced steak.
They may be seated close to one another at the United Nations, but the similarities between Italy and El Salvador tend to be few and far between. Tell that to chef Sandra Vieau, however, and she is likely to disagree. Vieau recently purchased Cassandra’s Ristorante, a traditional Italian restaurant that she proceeded to transform into a melting pot of Italian and Salvadoran cuisines. Today, the menu is the very definition of eclectic—a meal that begins with an empanada appetizer is likely to end with a roasted turkey and avocado sandwich or a spicy seafood paella. Fine paintings and mosaic-topped tables lend a hint of the exotic to the interior, as does a map that shows the best places to spot a jaguar in Italy.
Regatta 220 regales jaded restaurant veterans with a singular, elegant menu full of freshly assembled New American fare constructed from locally harvested produce when possible. Gluten-free edamame works great as a shareable starter ($3.99), and a veggie-flanked 10-ounce Angus sirloin awaits those on a meaty un-diet ($18.99). Baked cod served with spinach hashbrowns lands its succulent hooks into diners' taste buds ($15.99), and burgers such as the jalapeño-laden firecracker burger ($8.99) or the barbecue bacon cheeseburger ($8.99) tempt with tasty variations on the most American meal outside of flag-pin pudding. Vegetarian options abound, such as the portobello mushroom sandwich ($9.49), and an extensive wine list lets guests sip a glass of 2009 Canyon Road chardonnay to loosen their tongues before limericking their way out of awkward conversations ($5).
Communities tend to like places that have good roots. That's one reason why Green Bay Press-Gazette readers voted the locally owned and operated Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley the 2012 Best of the Bay's Best Bowling Alley. For more than three decades, guests have flocked to the facility's 60 lanes to test their ball-rolling and pin-eating skills alongside friends and family. Each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, DJ Rusty Lee's tracks work with black lights and fog machines to create a nightclub-like cosmic bowling experience.
Situated inside the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa, Bella Vita Ristorante's warm, copper-toned interior warms diners to a menu of "elevated Italian" dishes. A consecutive winner of Gold Fork Awards from Fox Cities Magazine, Bella Vita uses locally sourced ingredients to make many items in-house, including fresh mozzarella. Locally baked artisan bread provides a crisp platform for bruschetta made with ripe, juicy tomatoes and 12-year aged balsamic glaze, while wine racks display more than 80 different labels.
Muncheez Pizzeria, an intimate space brightened by a loud green, serves pizzas adorned with molten cheese and fresh veggies. Their classic pie sports a variety of toppings, such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and onion. More unusual pizza creations include the mexican pizza, which swaps out tomato sauce for refried beans and salsa. Guests can customize their pies by choosing from 19 different toppings, such as mandarin oranges, grilled chicken, and green olives. Wings and salads compliment the cheesy feasts, which are washed down with more than 50 styles of beer or buckets of free water.
Owners Brian Glassel and Tim Nicholson eventually teamed up to bring Glass Nickel Pizza Co. to fruition in 1997 after spending their teenage years working around the nostalgic aromas of baking pizzas in Wisconsin eateries. They met while working in the same pizzeria and shared a passion for gourmet pies, so they spent a year planning and dreaming. Then they gathered a small but dedicated team to flip the saucy dough and accommodate patrons with first-class customer service, including the provision of tall glasses brimming with cold beer. Their dedication to this modus operandi helped the restaurant to bloom into a statewide fixture with several locations throughout Wisconsin.
While keeping pizza the star of the menu, Brian and Tim augmented it by adding battered-fish baskets, meaty lasagnas, stacked sandwiches, and crispy chicken. Committed to quality, the duo uses house-made sauce and dough, as well as Boar’s Head deli meats. With an equal commitment to their community, they help to support various nonprofit organizations and keep all their restaurants green through the use of ovens that shut off when not in use, energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and cars that run on used vegetable oil and time-travel only when absolutely necessary.