Robert and Nicole Stai have a passion for the outdoors. Combined, they have been avid adventurers more than 50 years–including several years of marriage. The Stai's opened The Gear ReSource Outfitters in order to equip others for adventures of their own. They keep their shop stocked with the industry's newest gear, as well as lightly used and consignment items brought in by customers or bears trying to clear room in their dens for flat-screen screen TVs. More than just a source for outdoor apparel, Robert and Nicole also help customers put their purchases to work with guided adventures, including canoeing and kayaking trips in the summer and snowshoe treks in the winter.
Executive Chef Keith Johnson pairs premium ingredients with homemade touches to build Chart House's menu of hearty gourmet fare. Canadian walleye, scallops wrapped in apple-smoked bacon, hand-cut steaks of premium corn-fed cattle, and Alaskan snow crab form the basis of mouthwatering dishes, with unique elements including housemade applesauce, seven-spice butter, and grade-A pure maple syrup enhancing the already heady flavors. A Friday night fish fry welcomes guests to the softly lit dining room throughout the season of Lent, and regular live music events fill the air with sounds more melodious than the yawns of an opera singer.
The restaurant, which opened in 1968, is part of a larger event center that has indoor and outdoor reception sites used for weddings, corporate events, and Juggalo Championship Wrestling competitions. Located on the shores of Lake Kingsley, Chart House offers picturesque lakeside and garden views.
Mario and Nina Pelagalli use recipes passed down from family members from Rome and Naples as the blueprints for Casa Nostra Pizzeria & Ristorante's Italian cuisine. As the owners revealed to Sun Thisweek, Nina's mother creates the restaurant's sauces from scratch to ensure they carry on the family tradition of culinary excellence. Her concoctions blanket the 25 pastas on Casa Nostra's dinner menu, which also includes pizzas, paninis, and veal and chicken entrees. Having recently taken over a neighboring bar, the Pelagallis' restaurant now accommodates even more guests with roomier dining quarters and an expanded liquor stock. Evening entertainment includes Frank Sinatra tributes that pay homage to the crooner's singing ability and talent for intermittently firing blue lasers from his eyes.
Warm light and modern décor greet diners at Sawa Japan, and hibachi chefs dazzle diners with adroit teppanyaki-cooking showmanship. Lobster tail and filet mignon pirouette through the air and gently alight on an open hibachi grill. At the opposite end of the cooking spectrum, sushi chefs arrange raw morsels into dozens of à la carte sushi and signature-roll selections. Artful sushi presentations match the modern ambiance of the sushi bar, which extends into the dining area where soft music and large, airy windows evoke a peaceful climate.
Ronin Cafe's colorful menu of creative mouth entertainment combines spicy Thai specialties with Japanese dishes. Appetizers of grilled satay chicken ($5.95), with marinated cucumbers and peanut sauce, and deep-fried tofu ($4.75), served with sweet chili sauce and relish, bang the stomach gong before a delicate kabuki of sushi and sashimi unfolds. Along with various nigiris ($2), sashimis ($3), and vegan makis (6 pieces, $4–$6), specialty small rolls (4–6 pieces, $6–$12), such as the spicy yellowtail with garlic chili, and specialty big rolls (8 pieces, $14 and up) are tenderly crafted with shrimp and crab by expert chefs and christened with creative names such as dragon, red scorpion, white elephant, and enraged anteater. The indecisive and the nigiri novices can take the splitting headache out of menu decryptography by opting instead for Ronin Cafe's omakase ("trust") service, in which diners simply find a comfortable chair, name a price limit, and trust the chef to select the appropriate meal via telepathy.