Far from a little house alone on the prairie, Prairie House Tavern carries quite a bit of local history in its walls and floorboards. The newest resident in a building that once housed Jerry’s Supper Club and Jerry’s Tap, the tavern carries on the tradition of hospitality by feeding a procession of locals with pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches. Recently honored by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce as the 2012 Business of the Year, the tavern lives up to its billing with a jukebox, dartboards, and a veritable squadron of televisions. The fun especially picks up on karaoke nights, when guests grab the microphone to sing their favorite song or dramatically read their latest jury summons.
Rudolph Valentino DiTommaso has approximately 4,000 growing vines to look after at his 20-acre estate vineyard of ripening grapes in Long Grove. Rudolph and his team harvest their fruits and age their elixirs in barrels made of French and American oak to yield more than 20 types of wines, all of which are produced completely on-site. And they take just as much delight in showing off their libations as they do in making them. The vineyard regularly hosts seminars and tastings, which guests can pair with tours of the vineyard.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6–8, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 20+ locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts.
Up to 1,200 fans can dance and sway to the legendary sounds at Durty Nellie's. Planted across the street from the Palatine Metra station, the venue is easily accessible by public transit or private piggyback, the better to explore a 30-tap, 120-bottle beer list full of potions from Three Floyds and Goose Island as well as from France and Germany.
The chefs at Pavilion Restaurant's two locations elegantly blend and fuse flavors from European and American cuisines into gourmet entrées. Drawing from the French, the chefs sear foie gras a la Versailles appetizers, presenting each rich morsel on a crisp pear slice dressed with signature sauce and a witty description from the previous night's salon. The marinade of soy sauce, teriyaki, orange juice, and fresh thyme on the Asian skirt steak expands the scope of the menu to Eastern territories. The chefs focus on Italian tradition as they crown the seafood linguine with fresh shrimp, scallops, and alfredo sauce. Stationed at the bar, bartenders fill glasses with a selection of international wines, beers, and expatriate cocktails.
Patrons can relax and unwind their ears after a long week with live jazz music at the Northbrook location as they split butter crepes with red caviar from the late-night menu.