Whether the Bruins were hoisting the Stanley Cup or the Celtics were cutting down the nets at the Garden, people across the world knew one thing: Boston meant the big leagues. Gus Agiortis knew this too—alighting in Edmonton in 1964 after emigrating from his native Greece, he named his restaurant Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House to prove that his Italian flavors could play with the professionals. And play they did, cementing pizza’s status as a favorite in western Canada and helping the restaurant expand to dozens of locations. Current owners Jim Treliving and George Melville were among the people swept up by Gus’s recipes. After starting out as franchise owners, they purchased the chain in 1983. Whether getting their signature pies prominent placement at Vancouver’s Expo ’86 or expanding their empire to the United States, they’ve kept their sights set on big-league taste without sacrificing the quality ingredients or hypnotism training that made Gus’s food so irresistible to begin with. Served in more than 18 varieties, gourmet pizza still anchors the menu today, with pie creations ranging from the spicy Flying Buffalo to the Extreme Mushroom, which pairs flatbread with portobello, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms topped with mushroom pesto and parmesan bread crumbs. Chefs craft each crust by hand, layering it with Boston's special-recipe pizza sauce that they make in-house. On the non-pizza front, they’ve expanded past Gus’s spaghetti-topped beginnings, infusing the menu with southern-tinged favorites ranging from pulled pork and baby-back ribs to roast beef au jus and jambalaya fettuccini. They also stay health-conscious with their Healthy Hits menu, dishing out sensible portions of entrees such as the shrimp Diablo pasta that have less than 650 calories and 15 grams of fat.
The staccato snap of ricocheting billiard balls rises up through a warm chorus of cheering fans, who come together beneath signed jerseys from Josh Hamilton, Terry Bradshaw, and Emmitt Smith and 22 flat-screen televisions. Volcano's all-female staff works to make first-time guests feel like regulars without having to remember the jukebox's birthday, all the while delivering platters laden with half-pound Black Angus burgers crowned in chipotle spread. As darts flick through the air, sauce-covered hot wings fuel investigation into honey-hued cascades of brews and shakers chattering on cool loads of cocktails behind the bar.
New sets of friends formed by the mythological fates who determine shuffleboard teams sip libations while planning strategy. Golden Tee, a virtual golf game that draws a cult following, lets patrons compete against players sprinkled across the country or work on swings without the distraction of clouds shaped like a favorite paramecium. The bright jukebox sings a haunting siren melody to itchy index fingers, and the ambient satellite radio station plays hits from the top of the charts between selections.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Kicking back inside the "flip-flop friendly" beach-themed bar at Chow N Chill is easy. Wielding a cold one, cruise the menu for edibles such as the famous waffle burger topped with a fried egg, tomato, and two strips of crispy bacon sandwiched between two waffles?served with syrup for dipping. Kids can chow on waffle ham-and-cheese sandwiches or chicken nuggets, and at end of the meal, the whole family can fight over the last bite of bananas foster.
Big Barn Bar-B-Que's specialty dry-rubbed and pecan-smoked meats stock hungry mouths with succulent tastes backed by a cavalcade of sides. The menu enumerates a choice of 10 different meats, including two-meat plates that pair together savory combinations of carnivorous fare such as a tender arrangement of chopped brisket, classic baby back ribs, or jalapeño-cheddar sausage. Sides such as coleslaw and potato salad celebrate refreshing, cooling textures, and crisp fried okra and onion rings tantalize taste buds more completely than PhD students learn the alphabet. As duos, quartets, or sextets revel in smoky delights and share tastes, iced teas, fountain drinks, and coffee anoint liquid intake apparatuses in preparation for a finishing course of just desserts—seasonal cobblers packing a palatable punch of fruits such as strawberry or peach and Mama's famous banana pudding, which reveals a union of fresh-blended bananas and crisp vanilla wafers.
Some people like a cold beer or a mixed drink with dinner, but the regulars at Rack Daddy's prefer their dinner with a side of smooth baize. They send pool balls careening across tables' upholstered surfaces, facing off in games of pool and billiards. Xena Pizza, located next door, supplies Seattle-style slices layered with toppings such as Canadian bacon and spicy Italian sausage. Patrons can stay until 2:00 a.m., at which time all of the cue balls turn into pumpkins.