Vincenzo's Ristorante & Bistro's owners understand that people have different tastes, or sometimes just feel like a different experience. So, they decided to split their space in two. In the ristorante, they ferry fine Italian cuisine to candlelit, white-linened tables. In the bistro, they serve deliberately more casual fare as live singer-songwriters ply their trade at the piano with jazz and blues standards.
Aromas of sizzling shellfish, spiced tomatoes, juicy steaks, and roasted fruits waft through the sleek modern interiors of Serafina, where chefs craft seasonal Italian dishes with a focus on the Tuscan style. At the raw bar, staffers serve dozens of oysters, jumbo shrimp, and littleneck clams on the half shell. In the dining room, servers ferry complex gourmet dishes whose ingredients complement one another. They serve Italian seafood stew, Tuscan-style sirloin steak, long island duck breast, and pizzas topped with roast pears and figs or barbecue chicken. It’s food that has been praised by reviewers from such publications as the Boston Globe and the Concord Journal.
Behind the bar, floor-to-ceiling wine racks house more than 60 wines from regions throughout Italy and the United States, as well as Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand. The sounds of general merriment are accompanied by regular live piano, bass, or sax in jazz and contemporary styles.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company?now owned by the trio of siblings?reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Bamboo Fine Asian Cuisine isn't a Chinese restaurant or a Japanese restaurant?it's both, and it's got the menu(s) to prove it. Chinese dishes range from Hunan spicy beef and crispy pad thai to a daily lunch buffet, complete with baskets of dim sum treats. The Japanese dishes, meanwhile, hail from designated sushi chefs, who hand-craft nigiri and specialty maki such as the shrimp-tempura-stuffed dragon roll. For special occasions, or during flood warnings, diners can order their sushi served in a wooden boat?a fun alternative to a typical platter.
Italian immigrants Frank and Mary Napoli began a new life in America in 1898 when they purchased 40 acres of land to harvest vegetables, poultry, and eggs. With their three sons in tow, the Napolis began a pushcart delivery business that evolved into a produce stand dubbed Idylwilde. Nearly 90 years later, that small-town stand has blossomed into a booming grocery business run by a third generation of Napoli brothers. Together, the trio designed the current store, which was built in 1985 from 100 tons of ash and pine and includes a Dutch barn and greenhouse.
From beneath the wood rafters and high ceilings of Idylwilde's store, carts of fresh, seasonal produce such as cape cod cranberries, english peas, and squash glisten under the lights. The deli houses the farm's own freshly made turkey burgers and daily delivered Scottish salmon, as well as Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef and Boar's Head meats. In the bakery, fresh-baked breads and jumbo cookies fill the air with the sweet scent of the hearth. Joining Idylwilde's proprietary stash of goods are items from other well-known vendors, such as Hogan Brothers coffee and Silver Cloud Estates spices, as well as special dietary foods including gluten-free breads. The market also carries an extensive stock of craft beer and wines ready for pairing with gourmet New England cheeses from their enviable pantry.
Boredom meets its demise at Acton Bowladrome, a multifaceted complex owned by a family that has been entertaining other families for more than 40 years. There, 16 synthetic candlepin-bowling lanes speed balls toward rattling glory as friends, leagues, and parties rack up high scores. Away from the smashing pins, the Bowladrome's onsite, ‘50s-style restaurant, Burgerdrome, takes taste buds on a ride through time with burgers, shakes, pizzas, and views of the alley from its polished counter, bright-red booths, and checkered floor. Those vintage vibes continue into the arcade, filled with titles such as Guitar Hero and Bed Monsters, and the Retrocade, where gamers swap quarters for classic-game play and the chance to beat the Fonz’s high scores.