After immigrating to the United States at age 20, Greece native Dino Adamidis cut his teeth in the restaurant industry as an employee at his sister’s steakhouse. He enjoyed the work, but still aspired to own his own business, a dream he carried with him from Greece. In 1982, he and his wife Vona decided to pursue that dream by opening a small white and blue stand at a local art fair where they sold gyros to spectators, often cinching a sale with free meat samples, saying, “We knew if the people would try it they would love it.” Love it they did, but it wasn’t until 1986—four years and several food stands down the road—that the couple opened the first freestanding Dino’s Gyros with only eight booths and a single particle accelerator.
Today, Dino’s is run by the two oldest children and serves quick Greek and Mediterranean cuisine from six locations. The menu still highlights the classic gyro, often with innovative twists, such as the Greek Philly, a gyro-meat mound sautéed with onions, green peppers, and swiss cheese. Catering services offer the same delicious fare as box lunches, family-style buffets, or busts carved from gyro meat.
In 1952, after years of ferrying car batteries to wholesalers throughout Dallas in his trusty red Studebaker pickup truck, John Searcy opened a shop of his own. Now a national franchise with more than 300 locations, Interstate All Battery Center powers up gadgets from a catalog of more than 16,000 batteries. Specialized cells from an array of brands including Apple, Motorola, and Creative Labs power home electronics, including the cell phones and singing wall fish that run constantly in most modern households. Cordless tools purr warmly, and medical equipment, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs, continue their crucial functions with fresh energy. The shop also powers up vehicles from golf carts to vintage cars to RVs with batteries from Audi and other companies. The staff collects and recycles upward of 850 million pounds of batteries each year.
It started with a single store, opened in Fridley, Minnesota in 1964. But Dick Kempe's pizza proved too tasty for one outpost, and Chanticlear Pizza eventually spread to 14 locations in the following years. And although Dick no longer owns the pizzerias, his uncompromising standards for quality pies remain in place. Fresh dough is mixed up and hand-tossed daily. Vegetables are chopped each morning. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, the chefs rely on the tomatoes' natural, charm school-perfected sweetness. And the from-scratch foundation is always topped with house-shredded, 100% Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.
Once the dough and sauce are ready, Chanticlear Pizza's chefs continue the process by loading them with meats and veggies. The selection of toppings range from shrimp and bacon pieces to a secret-recipe pickle blend. A splash of spicy, bourbon-tinged molasses or chunky salsa can add additional pizzazz to pizzas. Beyond circular eats, polygonal dishes as pastas, calzones, and sides of buffalo wings and garlic toast populate the menu.
The sharp shooters at Average Joes Archery supply aspiring archers with equipment, including quiet-hunting and target bows from brands such as Strother Archery and BowTech. A 40-yard indoor shooting range with 20 lanes allows shooters to refine their ability to hit a target, thereby improving balloon-animal hunting skills. During parties, approximately 10 kids learn the ropes of archery-themed games and replenish their energy with candy and soda. Leagues for adults and youth provide both camaraderie and practice, meeting weekly for 10 to 12 weeks. The knowledgeable staffers at Joes also supply hunting and fishing licenses and educate up-and-coming archers with group and private lessons. To remedy worn-out equipment, target annihilators may return to Joes for arrow and bow repair, bow tuning, or a replacement bow signed by Cupid.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
It's not everyday you see a brown raccoon on roller skates being chased by a group of children. Unless, of course, you're a regular at Cheap Skate. The shop's mascot, Ricky the Raccoon, has been known to take to the rink during some of the rink's special skating events, which include weekly all-you-can-eat pizza nights and family skate sessions. The calendar also offers plenty of open skate sessions so families can fit in a few laps around the rink at a time that works best for them. And, between spins, skaters can head to Cheap Skate's snack bar where they can fuel up with a warm snack, sip on a refreshing beverage, or rest their feet to ensure toes can still text on the way home.
Private parties available on Monday, Wednesday and Sundays, call for reservation details.