For more than three decades, bowlers have settled scores atop the 56 glossy lanes at Pro Bowl West. Recently, the alley has been revamped to add flat-screen scoring monitors and new furniture, house balls, and shoes. Customers enjoy the new accouterments during open-bowling hours or lessons given by the experts at Charlie's Pro Shop. Exhaustion and rumbling tummies naturally steers patrons toward the Alley Sports Café & Grill, an old-timey diner that slings a popular pork-tenderloin sandwich. Other entertainment includes an arcade, as well as 21 flat-screen TVs, a dance floor, and six dartboards inside the Alley Sports Bar, a 3,000-square-foot space filled with the tunes of live bands on Saturdays and karaoke crooners on Thursdays and Fridays.
In 1952, Earl Myers and his son, Ed, built The Kitchen Table to create an eatery that combined hometown cooking with a friendly atmosphere. Now run by Rod Myers—Earl's grandson—and his wife, Mimi, the restaurant transports visitors back to the '50s with its original stools and countertop, which serves as a canvas for plates of classic diner fare and self-portraits painted in ketchup. Inside the kitchen, chefs simmer homemade soups, flip custom omelets, and transform ingredients into southern favorites such as country fried steak. They also serve smaller portions from a kids’ menu that, unlike the ability to see clowns, has no age limit.
Bear's Place, a 30-year old institution with new ownership, is planted adjacent to the Indiana University campus and is known for its social atmosphere. This reputation is thanks, in part, to its plethora of events?from Tuesday-night live acoustic shows to late-evening karaoke and other live performances from jazz and blues outfits. The bar also stakes its name on its signature drinks and a range of domestic and local craft beers served alongside specialty burgers and other American comfort foods. Wood-paneled walls, paintings of dogs, and bartenders with beer recipes tattooed on their biceps contribute to the rustic pub atmosphere.
A fish arcs out of bright-blue water looking so realistic that one expects the fuzzy teddy bear standing nearby to be showered in a smattering of droplets. Courtney's Bakery’s staff sculpts cakes in three-dimensional renderings of dolls, sports arenas, and tropical waterfalls. In flavors such as carrot walnut, island coconut, and marble, these cakes also appear as cupcakes for a handheld dessert or tossing into your loved one’s mouths. Courtney claims inspiration from her mother, a self-taught baker who influenced the recipes for cookies and cinnamon rolls.
The pizza engineers at Bengino's have pie making down to a science, assembling and cooking pizzas in less than three minutes and filling their menu with supplementary subs, wings, and sides. The BLT pizza adds mayo and cheese to its original trio of ingredients, and the hawaiian pizza transports tasters with its mix of ham, pineapple, bacon, and barbecue sauce ($12.99 each for a large). The meat lovers' pizza fills carnivorous quotas more than a hamburger statue made of meatballs with a quartet of pepperoni, sausage, ham, and bacon ($12.99 for a large). A handful of subs conquer hunger with varieties such as chicken club with bacon or pizza, a conglomeration of pepperoni, sausage, cheese, and three veggies ($5.99 each for a full). The menu gets extra lift with an assortment of chicken wings ($6.99–$19.99) and four different sauces to keep taste buds entertained with blind taste-testing contests. Bengino's drivers are only assigned one order at a time, ensuring deliveries are received as quickly as possible.
Noodle Bowl’s menu hosts a jamboree of authentic Asian platters hailing from numerous Eastern flavor sites. Fresh spring rolls clasp fresh vegetables and thin rice noodles or meat in a steamed rice-paper bear hug ($3.50–$4.50). Noodle bowls harbor a menagerie of species in savory broths, such as hearty soba wheat noodles buttressed by miniature armadas of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp ($8.75–$10.95), which navigate their way through a sea of veggie icebergs and pasta serpents. Retire the careers of meat, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions with steamy hibachi dishes, which arrive atop plates bedecked in soy sauce and seasoning after a searing tango on a flat-top grill ($12.95–$16.95).