Gino's East's still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and canadian bacon. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
On first glance, it’s hard to imagine that the charming French Country Inn was once a haunt for such notorious gangsters as Bugs Moran and Baby Face Nelson. But the century-old bed and breakfast, which sits unassumingly on a quiet street on the banks of Lake Como, served as a discreet getaway for gangsters during the height of Prohibition.
After walking into the main building, you immediately get a sense of the inn's rich history. Parquet flooring leads to an intricately carved staircase made of solid oak imported from Denmark. In the other buildings, period furnishings and hues of warm crimson lend the accommodations a homey feel.
In keeping with this hospitable spirit, the innkeepers lay out a complimentary breakfast spread each morning. As the day winds on, guests can venture out to nearby downtown Lake Geneva to browse its antiques stores, art galleries, and curio shops.
Papa Murphy's was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of his signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. His appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
At Corleone Sicilian Restaurant, guests dine on a spread of freshly made dishes inspired just as much by grandma's kitchen as by Sicily itself. The menu is chock-full of family recipes, ranging from lightly breaded steak and tender chicken cacciatore to hearty lasagna and pastas ladled with housemade sauce. Head Chef Matthew Fradera whips up elegantly plated feasts of lunch paninis and margherita pizzas or dinners of eggplant pasta and veal cutlets, paired with fine Italian wines.
German-born chef Mike Richie surrounds his culinary stylings in the upscale environment of The French Country Inn on the Lake, a history-rich haven with ties to the Chicago World's Fair and gangsters of yore. The seasonal menu merges elements of European cuisine and contemporary American traditions to forge dishes that complement the dining room's rustic décor and view of Lake Como, which reflects the stars at night to keep them out of guests' soup. In fine weather, diners can enjoy their continental fare amid an all-natural symphony on the lakeside patio, while the music schedule regularly features manmade melodies to entertain those on the inside.