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.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
Sixty-four tables populate Shooters' 22,000-square-foot billiardland. Some are Valley and Diamond coin-operated tables, and others are Brunswick Gold Crown tables designed for professional play, with flawless felt and wood that welcomes elbows like the moon welcomes a handsome astronaut. Observe the physics of a well-played bank shot from the ample seating surrounding each table. Shooters' rates are hourly and depend on the number of people at a table. Before 7 p.m., one to four players play for $3.75 an hour per person; after 7 p.m., hourly rates are $5.25 for one player, $4.75 for two players, $4.25 for three players, and $3.75 for four players. On weekends after 8 p.m., rates rise an additional $0.25 per hour.
On any given night, the crowd at McKracken’s might be gobbling up appetizers and pizza from the late-night menu, available until 1 a.m., and hanging out until the bar’s lights go dim an hour later. As regulars often stay late playing pool or watching sports on the room’s many flat-screen TVs, the pub’s proprietors team up with Last Call Car Service on Friday and Saturday nights to bring customers and their vehicles home safely for free within 10 miles of the pub.
On afternoons and evenings, bartenders pour top-shelf spirits, cocktails, and draft and bottled beers that complement McKracken’s regular menu of pub classics. Smoked pig wings come from the kitchen tossed in sauces such as habanero or mahogany, the tasty alternative to licking a coffee table, and six burgers offer protein options from veggie to pork shoulder. As groups chat during McKracken’s weekend breakfast or into the night, the remodeled space keeps them entertained with flat-screen TVs, pool tables, darts, and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
The shelves of Burnsville Ale House's kitchen are lined with secrets. Hand-formed Angus beef patties mixed with Guinness and a special blend of seasonings sizzle alongside meatloaf and pizza made from carefully guarded recipes, each allowing chefs to surprise and delight diners with every meal. Housemade cheese sauce canoodles with pasta in adult mac 'n' cheese, and subtly spiced mayo plays off the asian cucumbers in the chicken bahn mi sandwich. Less secret are the Ale House's other perks: karaoke, poker, and live-music nights entice guests for reasons other than the gourmet burgers, and an outdoor deck encourages the time-honored tradition of eating an entire pound of wings al fresco.
The "Thunder" in Thunder Valley Bar & Grill is a reference to the sound of roaring engines just outside the bar's door, where bikers park their hogs before heading inside for a platter of homemade fried chicken or a whopping half-pound juicy lucy. These guys can't be satisfied with just a hamburger patty stuffed with cheese, so Thunder Valley fills its famed Ninja Lucy with jalape?os before topping it off with a spicy inferno sauce. The only thing that can distract them from the delicious food and cold beers is the bar's live entertainment, which ranges from trivia nights to broadcasts of the local moto-rugby team, the Minnesota Motorboyz.