"A computer can't understand a handshake," says Jack Schwindler, explaining why he retired after 32 years as a food broker. He missed the face-to-face aspect of the business, which diminished as technology swiftly advanced. So when he and his wife found a defunct marina on Lake Lotawana, where Jack spent his childhood, he found his calling. In 1993, Jack and his wife opened Marina Grog & Galley, and now, Jack says, "I'm shaking hands again."
Marina Grog and Galley is run by a tight-knit crew of longtime employees, including servers who have worked there since 1996. Their menu boasts dry-aged steaks from a local purveyor and fresh fish flown in from Hawaii three times a week. The smell of steaks searing over mesquite charcoal drifts out to the front driveway, creating an aroma that attracts passersby and envious traveling steak peddlers. Other specialties include baby-back ribs crafted from a recipe Jack penned when he was 21 years old, and a range of fried, boiled, and stuffed shrimp.
Every night, Jack visits with guests at the tables arranged around the dining room, which look out at the lake or a 1,500-gallon saltwater tank that houses a 48-foot living reef. Leather seats in cobalt blue comfort backs, and stone fireplaces warm the stone walls and light wood around the restaurant. Outdoor tables along the water seat up to 150 people, and on-deck fireplaces keep diners comfortable. "Something happens every night in the restaurant business," says Jack, and he doesn't want to miss a minute of it.
Fun House Pizza’s cooks have been tossing craving-satisfying pizzas since 1964, catering to families with their shareable fare and friendly staff. Gooey pizzas arrive topped with Fun House Pizza’s secret sauce recipe, sprinkled with toppings that include kraut, mushrooms, and Italian or Polish sausage. The kitchen crew gets creative with their specialty pizzas, which play dress up to create pies of the taco, bacon cheeseburger, and mexican variety. The restaurants cater to kids with a slew of entertainment options, from Thomas the Tank Engine rides to game rooms with air hockey and video games to the cheerful servers who are ready and willing to eat homework assignments.
For 70 years, Winstead’s has garnered a myriad of accolades and praise for its scrumptious hamburgers and other drive-in eats. Poke through the menu to find the joint’s signature Double Winstead steakburger, grilled with U.S. Choice Steak and topped with all the sloppy-tasty fixings––mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion ($3.35). The Fifty-Fifty puts hot and crisp french fries and crunchy onion rings side by side in the most delicious peace pact since ketchup and mustard ended their hot-dog feud ($2.19). Scarf a chili cheese dog ($2.79) or grilled-cheese sandwich ($2.05), and then focus on Winstead’s old-fashioned desserts. Creamy milk shakes and malts ($2.45–$4.55) immerse taste buds in flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, and butterscotch, and Winstead’s beloved skyscraper shake ($7.25) packs enough iced delight to quench the thirsts of four people or one André the Giant. Other desserts include a root-beer float ($2.45) and apple-dumpling à la mode ($4.60).
CheeZies Pizza's dexterous culinary artists festoon fresh, floured canvases with brush strokes of tomato sauce and sprinkles of tantalizing toppings. Transport tongue tenants across the border with bites of the taco pizza, bearing spicy hunks of beef, black olives, and jalapeños on request ($8.99). A deluxe pie lounges under a sultry deluge of pepperoni, green pepper, and mushrooms ($8.99), and a tropical delight ($8.99) dons a multiflavored lei of savory Canadian bacon and sweet pineapple. Piles of barbecue wings ($5.99/8 wings) provide finger-licking substitutes to spherical eats, and hefty calzones ($8.99) volunteer portly packages of meat and cheese to tackle large appetites or fill in for vacationing boat anchors.
At the family owned restaurant, you can spot head chef Alex Potts working alongside the restaurant manager, Joe Scaglia, as they nimbly slice up fresh green peppers or peek into the fiery stone deck oven to check on their pizzas. The skilled duo adhere to the classic Neapolitan style of pizza-making, baking thin-crust pies until they are crispy, chewy, and ever-so-slightly charred. They favor local produce, meats, and cheeses, asserting, "using local and seasonal ingredients is the best way we can support our local economy while also getting the best possible product." They shower their creations in both traditional and uncommon toppings and crusts, from a wheat crust to plump morsels of classic italian sausages and less orthodox brie, almonds, or potato. Like an overly complicated valedictorian speech, the selection of toppings also includes pineapple, prosciutto, bacon, soppresata, pesto, and cream cheese.
The menu at Q's 'Que is all about smoked meat. From full slabs of ribs to pulled pork by the pound, the cuts here get treated with tender loving care before they make their way into paper-lined baskets and diners' sauce-soaked hands. There are fountain drinks and bottled beers to wash it all down, as well as to put out spice fires in unattended doggy bags.