Isabella Restaurant is situated next to a movie theater, so perhaps that’s why its cuisine is so visually captivating. Under the guidance of executive chef John Mahoney, the eatery offers up succulent Atlantic salmon tossed in whole-wheat pasta and spicy hong kong noodles, served with wok-fried veggies and peanuts plus a choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp. Hardwood flooring bespeaks a muted elegance and pea-green walls help vegetables to feel relaxed.
Chocolate changed David and Pam Griffin's lives. David was more than three decades into a manufacturing career, while his wife, Pam, was 16 years deep in a career at a major coffee chain. The two became restless in their respective careers, so they left their jobs and looked for a joint business venture. They both settled on chocolate, inspiring David to begin studying under experienced pastry chef Delphin Gnomes at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. He started to create his own chocolate varieties, often incorporating healthy ingredients. In fact, his first creation was a dairy-free dark chocolate topped with pistachio. Pam, meanwhile, wanted to come up with an appropriate name for the business that reflects the catharsis and creativity chocolate can inspire. Hence, Chocolate Therapy was born. Today, the duo continues to produce innovative treats, displaying their decadent oeuvre in their store’s glass display case.
David and Pam can also schedule parties at their store. During the festivities, adults, children, or undercover oompa loompas masquerading as children can tour the chocolate-making facility and discover the secrets behind how the Griffins create their truffles, dipped caramels, and molded chocolates.
Named Best Bowling by Boston magazine in 2010, Kings' fun centers boast a lively atmosphere for all ages. Both locations host ample bowling ($4.50–$6.50 per game) real estate—20 lanes at Dedham and 16 at Back Bay—and dozens of HDTVs. Back Bay features a full billiards room with Brunswick Gold Crown tables ($14 per hour), while Dedham provides miniature skee bowling ($5 per game) and regulation shuffleboard ($10 per hour), so shuffleboard fanatics can relive their favorite professional shuffleboard moments. With thousands of square feet of fun at each spot, recreational hustlers and mingle-minded masses alike can score bowling points, billiard touchdowns, or shuffleboard coup-fourrés.
The confection peddlers at Sugar Heaven subdue sucrose-craving taste buds with an ample assortment of bulk candy, chocolate treats, lollipops, and ice cream. Start a sweet-centric dessert excursion by conglomerating bulk candies into an assorted bag of sugary goodness—fill up with #2 candies ($16.42 per pound), such as almonds covered in silky-smooth Arway milk chocolate and raspberry cordials, or #1 candies ($11.97 per pound) including Atomic Fireballs, sour cola bottles, and classic rock candy.
Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. The Back Bay location has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.