Disenchanted with the stigmatization of pool halls as dark, grimy places, lifelong billiards enthusiast Faheem Zia decided to give the game he loved room to thrive in a well-lit and smoke-free joint with an art-deco aesthetic. Gleaming cues dip back and glide smoothly between fingers tented against the main hall's 13 pool tables, which include Diamond Pro-Am units topped in cerulean felt and 9-foot Brunswick Gold Crown IV tables. A heated Søren Søgaard model without pockets serves as a venue for less-common billiards variants and lacks the traditional spots to hide an extra pair of aces.
Each table makes an appearance on the professional circuit monthly, when one of three rotating professional leagues visits and fills the room with an orchestra of cracking Super Aramith balls. During matches, café-style tables surrounded by high-top chairs and stools fill with a range of upscale pub fare such as wings dry-fried in ovens. A jukebox crouches in one corner, spilling forth a varied soundtrack on waves of neon light, and a panoply of touch-screen games and two dartboards let patrons compete while avoiding green felt after a teary falling-out with Kermit.
If you vow to try a new piece of sushi, maki, or shasimi every month at Sakari Sushi, make sure you aren't moving any time in the next three years. That’s because the sushi chefs, who boast more than 40 years of combined experience, artfully plate more than 30 varieties. They assemble classic ingredients to create innovative combinations, such as the Mount Fuji roll with spicy crawfish coated in tempura flakes, the Mexican roll with shrimp tempura, cream cheese and jalapeno, and a California roll uniquely crowned with baked scallops.
Beyond the sushi bar, Sakari's culinary team prepares meats, seafood, and veggies in traditional style, such as tempura, teppan, and teriyaki. They even serve thinly sliced, marinated portions of pork or ribeye over a hot stone slab decked out with onions. Hot and cold sakes, imported Japanese beer, and an extensive wine selection complement meals, which unfold inside Sakari's hardwood dining room, as well as on an outdoor patio in the event of warm weather or an apocalyptic solar flare.
Corpus Waxing Center's owner, Dea Prieto, hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and calls upon her beachy experiences there to perform the center's specialty—Brazilian bikini waxes. Prieto has been perfecting her technique since 1998 and continues to train in the latest hair-removal methods, eschewing old-fashioned strategies such as reciting the works of Edgar Allan Poe until hair sulks away naturally. Swift gloved hands remove wax-bound hair from any area of the body using medically sterilized equipment and fresh batches of a hard, green wax for each treatment. Vajazzling services are also available, employing authentic Swarovski crystals to make skin glint like a freshly polished light bulb.
At Green Lemon Cafe, ceramic salt- and peppershakers masquerade as pairs of flamingos, crabs, and dairy cows. The figurines mirror the café's harmonious atmosphere: on any given day, patrons munch Fresh-inspired café fare, chat with owner Amanda Volence, or sprout goatees while browsing original artwork.
In the kitchen, chefs pack Boar's Head meats into savory crepes and paninis such as the black forest ham and swiss panini or the raspberry-chicken crepe with jack cheese and spinach. Alternately, cooks fill the apple-crisp crepe—1 of more than 30 crepe options—with cinnamon, apples, caramel, and graham-cracker crumbs.
Serving up food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the culinary team at Cheddar Jack's crafts their homemade burgers with 100% fresh Angus beef that has never been frozen. Provolone and colby jack join four other types of cheese atop the six-cheese burger, and the bacon, onion rings, and barbecue sauce on the Rodeo burger are only available to patrons who lasso it from the kitchen. Cheddar Jack's chefs also whip up comfort food dishes that include meatloaf, pulled-pork sandwiches, all-beef franks, and milk shakes. Along with lunchtime and dinnertime treats, early birds can feast on breakfast starting at 8 a.m. seven days a week.
Chef and owner Gary Tolla selects dishes from a large rolodex of family Italian recipes to fill out the menu at Tolla’s Italian Restaurant. Veal and chicken receive the parmigiana, marsala, and piccata treatments, and raviolis are stuffed with cheese to create little pillowy pockets almost identical to actual dollhouse pillows. A selection of wine helps wash down hot and cold subs or pizzas concocted from shareable 12-inch disks or personal 10-inch crusts. On Friday and Saturday evenings, live entertainment—from bands to a Rat Pack balloon artist—entertains patrons inside the eatery.