In 1996, the first Phil's Philly Grill introduced its signature hot sandwiches to Dallas from a single, modestly sized kitchen nestled into a bustling Metroplex. Because its founders brought decades of experience to the business, their sandwiches' of sauteed veggies and meats pleased anyone who got their hands on them. Soon, the concept steadily grew to occupy more than a half-dozen locations around Texas.
Today, sandwichsmiths at seven locations serve up everything from lena, certified rib-eye steaks?onions, peppers, cheese, and mushrooms included?to the Texas bacon barbecue burger, which understandably includes bacon, barbecue sauce, and a strange resemblance to the state of Texas. Phil's certified grill experts bring 40 hours of training to prepare chicken breasts marinated with 17-ingredients and hand chop fresh vegetables and cheeses. An array of Philly sandwiches, grilled salads, gyros plates, and wraps round out the menu. The ownership's commitment to hard work, passion, and fine meats have also spawned franchising opportunities for those looking to launch their own little bit of Phil's.
From the grinning rainbow-colored caterpillar to the rainbow-spiraled bouncy tent and red knight's castle, Texas Jumping Beans envelopes kids in a kaleidoscopic fun house. While sock-clad tots tumble through a 12,000-square-foot supervised playground, parents sit back with lemonade from the vending machines. As guardians surf the Internet, kids slip down giant air-filled slide and commandeer the mammoth inflatable pirate's ship before retiring to the lobby to eat their brown-bagged lunches brought from home. After filling up their food vesicles, toddlers wade through the 12'x10' ball pond and explore tunnels, and their bigger brethren burn energy ricocheting off the plush yellow dinosaurs they will clone for research later in their home laboratories. The bouncy playground also makes for energetic birthday parties, which the center can host any time of day, any day of the week, accommodating anything from a three-hour fiesta to an all-night slumber party. Additionally, Texas Jumping Beans rents springy houses and picnic tables for at-home shindigs.
After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
Ribbons of sunlight stream through the dense jungle canopy as you trudge atop the soggy soil. You brush away beads of sweat and inhale the thick, humid air that seems to radiate from the surrounding foliage. In the distance, a monkey shrieks, but nearby, something else catches your ear?the infectious melody of childish giggles. At Safari Champ, socked explorers bound through similar scenes seven days a week, toeing the line between imagination and reality while crawling through tubes, climbing up ropes, and soaring down slides. Parents are invited to join their cubs during indoor quests or enjoy some hard-earned free time by taking advantage of the facility's daycare options. Snacks, including pizza, ice cream, and lattes, are also available inside Safari Champ, which also swings open its bamboo doors to birthday parties throughout the year.
A local beacon of all-ages athletics, Austin Sports Arena provides the headquarters for adult and youth roller hockey leagues and offers sports and roller skating parties for kids of all ages. Between games, athletes can hit up the concession stand or gobble pixelated power pellets at a mini arcade. Those soaring beneath the skating rink's rotating gobos can bring their own skates or rent a high-end pair as onlookers skate across the Internet by taking advantage of the center’s free WiFi.
Vino 100 serves cheeses and imaginative pasta dishes in its cozy storefront, with live entertainment on Thursdays and Fridays. Start off a meal with a cheese plate, bedecked with one to four types of dairy ($9/one cheese, $20/four). Choose from brie, fontina, Brazos Valley–smoked gouda, and a Brazos Valley cheese of the month. Small plates such as the artichoke dip with crab and spinach ($12) or the goat cheese with raspberry-chipotle sauce ($6) whet appetites and fill bellies to half capacity. Send hunger packing with a stick and bindle by ordering a filling entree such as the truffle-oil mac 'n' cheese ($8), brimming with four italian cheeses, black-forest ham, egg noodles, and a dusting of smoked gruyere. Or try a savory shrimp-and-sausage cheesecake ($12), crowned with a crawfish rémoulade instead of traditional whipped cream and cookies. Polish off the meal with delectable dessert ($6 each), such as the s'mores panini, a combination of marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and Nutella, encased in a ciabatta bun and grilled to gooey goodness. Stay alert by downing an affogato, a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream topped with espresso, ensuring you never again fall asleep during an all-cymbal band recital.