The chefs at Great Northern Pizza Kitchen draw upon Italian, Greek, and American culinary traditions while topping pizzas. After tossing crusts by hand, they turn to blue cheese, buffalo sauce, shredded pork, morsels of feta, and pico de gallo. Though some toppings seem adventurous, the mac 'n' cheese pizza and the potato-skin pie, a combination of bacon, sliced potatoes, and cheddar cheese, call to mind simple comfort foods. Tables clatter with plates of salads, pastas, and sandwiches in an 80-seat dining room with exactly enough spots for the 10 families cloned from the Brady Bunch.
Art isn't merely housed at Artisan Works?it's born here. The 40,000-square-foot facility includes galleries showcasing thousands of regional artists as well as onsite studios where creators pour their imaginations onto canvas, wood, and clay. You can watch them while they work as you check out the paintings and sculptures in the galleries. A non-profit organization, Artisan Works relies on individual and corporate support for funding.
Known for its generous portions and expansive menu, The Lunch Box Spot is a perennial favorite for midday munchers and noontime nibblers. Between-the-slice options are always served on The Lunch Box Spot's freshly baked bread and are constructed using layers of high-quality sliced meat and fresh-faced fillings. Hot subs (4", $4.69; 8", $7.29; 12" $9.29) breach the surface with options such as the chicken alfredo, which places alfredo-sauced chicken fingers atop a bed of spinach with tomato and red-onion pillows. Specialty sandwiches ($6.59) mosey into the culinary corral with the Southwestern (sliced chicken breast cooped up inside a pita with munster cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bacon-ranch dressing). Burgers pack a punch with a variety of 1/3 pounders ($3.99–$5.69), such as the black and blue burger, whose Cajun seasonings and crumbled blue cheese agreed to make peace after a court-ordered flavor-management class. Hunger-fighting sidekicks include finger-lickers such as fried mushrooms with blue cheese ($3.49), as well as a variety of homemade side salads ($1.69–$2.39).
Rusted Root is a six-member jam-centric rock band that transcends genres with influences from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and parts of space still unidentified. With more than 3 million albums sold worldwide, Rusted Root has been crushing live shows with an energetic stage presence and incredible sound since their 1992 debut. The talented sound architects might blast eardrums with the high-paced jam "Ecstasy", soulfully bring the crowd "Back to the Earth", and perhaps even shindig on stage with the crowd favorite "Send Me on My Way", which happens to be NASA's choice as "wake-up" music for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
A privately owned delicatessen and lunch bistro for more than 80 years, Swan Market delivers deliciously umlauted deli meats with an authentic German sensibility. The market's staff makes every sausage on the lunch menu by hand and also hand-slices all cold cuts using well-placed karate chops. Prime rusty palates with a sausage appetizer before feasting on hearty schnitzel, sauerbraten, or the most German dish of all: Hungarian goulash. Edible addendums of potato salad, sauerkraut, and spaetzle will further insulate ribs against winter chills and misfired cannonballs. And like a good German restaurant or bad German daycare center, Swan Market keeps a slate of imported Deutsch beers on tap ($3.50/glass, $12/pitcher). Lunch items are typically between $7 and $8. Most of Swan Market's wares can also be bought for $4.99 to $7.99 per pound at its deli counter.
When she was establishing Gigi's Italian Kitchen & Catering during the recession, owner Patty Pulver knew she would have to work hard to get people in the door. But her positive attitude and creative ideas—for example, clients can sign up to take the restaurant's toy-duck mascot on their family vacation and photo document their journey—were eventually overshadowed by the eatery's hearty Italian menu.
Patty's team artfully plates lunches and dinners, which include prime-rib entrees, homemade manicotti, and veal specialties, along with more than 15 paninis and sandwiches served exclusively during lunch. They also bend to their diner’s whims and assemble build-your-own pasta dishes from seven types of pasta, including a gluten-free option, and four sauces. On Wednesday nights, they challenge guests to fill their bellies with all-you-can-eat pasta, complemented by a signature red sauce, optional meatballs, and the hopes that the restaurant will let you curl up and take a nap under the table. Live guitar music serenades diners on Friday and Saturday nights, which further cultivates an atmosphere of merriment at the family-friendly hot spot.