Whether you're a vino virgin or wine aficionado, one of Vintage's 100 wines is sure to tickle your tongue and glamorize your gullet. Sixty-five grapen goodnesses are available by the glass, including the Sicilian Arnacio Nero D'Avola ($5) and the South African Jam Jar 2009 Sweet Shiraz ($6). Taste three wines at once during a flight such as the Chardonnay flight, which includes wines from Sonoma, South Africa, and the Central Coast of California ($12). To complement the grape blood, there’s small plates ($4 and up) such as pan seared goat cheese cakes with pear jam and entrees ($14 and up) like the herb gnocchi with butternut squash and sage brown butter. Or, combine one of more than 25 beer selections with pizza ($9 and up) made on Vintage's house-made dough.
Though much has changed in Aurora since 1891, one thing has remained the same: the bar inside the former Coachlight building. The facility now houses Third and Main: Historic Restaurant and Tavern. There, the building's original liquor license hangs behind the 122-year-old bar while black-and-white photographs strewn throughout the 60-seat main dining room conjure more memories of the past.
To summon guests back to the present, chefs plate housemade, creative American dishes crafted with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. They stuff patties of certified Angus beef and freshly ground short ribs with mushrooms and blue cheese, and toss creamy ranch, tomatoes, and bacon into BLT-inspired salads, to be paired with a selection from their extensive craft beer list. In addition to the dining area, meals unfold on a bi-level patio that surrounds up to 90 patrons with southern-style garden fixtures such as flower boxes full of blooms.
Cici’s Pizza fills bellies with a sprawling buffet filled with more than 28 varieties of pizza, as well as pastas, salads, and dessert. Their eclectic offerings include Cheeseburger pizza with crumbled beef, crisp dill pickle slices, and mac ‘n’ cheese sauce; Hog Fest pizza with bacon, italian sausage, ham, and pepperoni; and Zesty Veggie pizza with seasoned parmesan-ranch sauce. Pizza pies rest on a made-from-scratch crust, which cooks lovingly adorn with a variety of sauces, including homemade marinara. After filling plates with all-you-can-eat portions, eaters can settle into an environment more family friendly than an animated movie that shows viewers how to clean a house. The eatery’s carry-out menu allows on-the-go diners to top their pizzas with pineapple, onions, jalapeños, and more.
On the shelves and display racks at Tala's, handbags from Brazil stand a few feet from mandala earrings and ornate hookahs. Around the shop, curated selections of handmade products stand ready to be inspected and taken home. Tala's also follows fair-trade practices, aiming to benefit the far-flung makers of its clothing and accessories.
Referencing the tasty time-honored recipes of his grandmother, J. Gumbo's founder, Billy Fox Jr., designed a comforting menu of home-style sustenance. All dishes are prepared using only the freshest ingredients and zestiest spices available, as well as enough love to turn a wooden puppet into a real boy and a sock puppet into a foot. Dive fork first into a hearty bowl of jambalaya, bursting with tender chicken, sausage, and the ubiquitous "trinity" of Cajun cuisine: bell pepper, onion, and celery ($5.66). To deliciously deny the impending mitten season, wrap your hands around a voodoo-chicken po' boy sandwich, a belly-warming feast of spicy chicken and green onions atop french bread ($6.37). The menu is friendly to mild-mannered and thrill-seeking diners alike, with each menu item labeled according to heat––one hot-sauce bottle denotes mild, whereas three signifies a concentration of capsaicin powerful enough to send tongues rocketing to the sub-zero climes of Pluto in search of relief. Cool your palate while staying seated with an ice-cold sweet tea ($1.89 each).