Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
Whether the Bruins were hoisting the Stanley Cup or the Celtics were cutting down the nets at the Garden, people across the world knew one thing: Boston meant the big leagues. Gus Agiortis knew this too—alighting in Edmonton in 1964 after emigrating from his native Greece, he named his restaurant Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House to prove that his Italian flavors could play with the professionals. And play they did, cementing pizza’s status as a favorite in western Canada and helping the restaurant expand to dozens of locations. Current owners Jim Treliving and George Melville were among the people swept up by Gus’s recipes. After starting out as franchise owners, they purchased the chain in 1983. Whether getting their signature pies prominent placement at Vancouver’s Expo ’86 or expanding their empire to the United States, they’ve kept their sights set on big-league taste without sacrificing the quality ingredients or hypnotism training that made Gus’s food so irresistible to begin with. Served in more than 18 varieties, gourmet pizza still anchors the menu today, with pie creations ranging from the spicy Flying Buffalo to the Extreme Mushroom, which pairs flatbread with portobello, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms topped with mushroom pesto and parmesan bread crumbs. Chefs craft each crust by hand, layering it with Boston's special-recipe pizza sauce that they make in-house. On the non-pizza front, they’ve expanded past Gus’s spaghetti-topped beginnings, infusing the menu with southern-tinged favorites ranging from pulled pork and baby-back ribs to roast beef au jus and jambalaya fettuccini. They also stay health-conscious with their Healthy Hits menu, dishing out sensible portions of entrees such as the shrimp Diablo pasta that have less than 650 calories and 15 grams of fat.
Awash in flashing laser light, Glass Cactus' 2,000-square-foot dance floor pulses with DJ-spun beats when live entertainers aren’t hoarding the stage. In the bar, exposed brick and scarlet furniture set a more sultry vibe, while the two-story deck provides serene views of Lake Grapevine.
In Italy, l’aperitivo is time for socializing with friends over drinks and light snacks. Aperitivos Coffee & Wine Bar supplies this exact respite amid old-country surrounds of dark woods, brick, and stucco walls. Here, baristas add splashes of flavoring, such as sugar-free hazelnut, to Segafredo Coffee, or use it to craft caffeinated favorites like chai lattes. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour reds and white from an extensive list with selections that span everywhere from Argentina to Washington State.
All beverages complement upscale bistro fare, including six-ounce marinated steaks finished with blue cheese butter or flatbread pizzas topped with roasted chicken and a creamy garlic-and-onion sauce. On most weekends, feasts unfold as local musicians grace the Aperitivos stage with soothing tunes.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
Since 1989, Sneaky Pete's has been a self-described destination for "the young and the ageless." A place to eat, drink, party by a pool, play volleyball in the sand, and park your boat, Pete's offers lots of amenities that make for a fun-filled experience. And that's not even including happy hour and frequent events such as live music from popular cover bands. From the menu, order up pizzas or bacon cheeseburgers, and grab drinks from the bar before heading out to the huge outdoor deck to catch some rays or glare at the sun until it stops shining.