The sounds of hockey sticks slapping pucks, ice skates carving figure eights, and trampoline springs squeaking fill Midwest Training and Ice Center. Adding to the soundscape, experienced staff members shout words of encouragement during adult and youth activities that unfold throughout the 34,000-square-foot gymnastics training facility and the Olympic-sized ice arena.
To help visitors grab an edge on their competition, personal trainers stage workouts in the fitness center, which includes strength and cardio equipment, group classes, and locker rooms equipped with a sauna?one of the best ways to relax post workout, and the second best way to cook a turkey. Though the facility focuses on competitive-training programs, its doors also open for public skates, open gyms, youth summer camps, and birthday parties.
The legacy of Zuni’s House of Pizza's signature-pizza recipe dates back to 1954. On each pie, gooey cheese melts over robust lochs of sauce atop a thin- or stuffed-crust foundation, which is then peppered with a panoply of fresh pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, or other toppings. At the Cedar Lake location, chefs cycle between a variety of 20 appetizers, 20 entrees, and 13 sandwiches—such as a southwest roll-up drizzled in mexi-ranch dressing. The Dyer location focuses on classic-pizzeria fare, with five specialty pies complementing fragrant farfalle pastas and piping hot calzones. Frothy suds sidle up to slices at both locations for a pairing as classic as muscle cars and drive-ins or drag racing while reading Archie’s comics.
An oversize photograph of a rhinoceros hangs on one of the walls at White Rhino Bar & Grill, serenely surveying a kingdom accented by natural stone and brightened by the glow of 21 flat-screen televisions. With the noble beast’s blessing, diners can tear into savory American food ranging from griddled steaks and slow-cooked ribs to pizzas layered with andouille sausage, shrimp, and gouda. Bartenders mix cocktails, host wine tastings, and serve more than 110 beers, and DJs spin music that often leads to nighttime dancing and spontaneous daytime jazzercise sessions.
Patti Komara, commandant of Patti’s All-American for 42 years, leads a team of friendly, highly skilled trainers in conducting gymnastics and dance classes for teens and younger tots. The Tumblebear Gym program (walking toddler–age 6) draws in dinosaurs, Hollywood, and outer-space themes to keep youngsters engaged in the graceful, athletic movements of tumbling. Gymnasts old enough for school-age gymnastics classes (age 6–18) learn and practice more complicated skills on the spring floor, the uneven bars, the in-ground trampoline, and more.
John Nilsson and April Rodriguez opened Premiere Dance Studio in order to create a community for dancers of all levels, budgets, and schedules to come together. They teach classes in a broad spectrum of styles such as swing, both International Standard and American Smooth waltz and tango, and social dances such as west coast swing. To encourage students to test out their new moves, they host dance parties and other events, as well as offering private lessons for couples brushing up for a wedding.
Stardust Bowl's two locations welcome everyone from casual groups to diehard competitors, keeping lanes open as late as 11 p.m. in Merrillville and as late as 12 a.m. in Dyer. In between frames, patrons can refuel with a quick bite or drink from the snack bar, try their hand at the Merrillville location's billiard tables, or visit the Dyer alley's arcade. The Dyer location ramps up the energy on select evenings with starlight bowling, showering all 48 lanes with laser lights and cranking up the sound system's playlist of spirited mayoral debates.