For 32 years, comics such as Jay Leno, Ray Romano, and Kevin James have kick-started their careers on the stages of Comedy Cabaret, tucked inside a pair of cozy restaurants. A trio of vaudevillian jokesters descend on Casa Carollo on May 5. The Legendary Wid juggles a barrage of stuffed animals, lawn decorations, and lamps to illustrate his offbeat sense of humor. Sharing the stage, comic actor John Kensil spreads Vegas-style suavity, and Danny B sets his japery to music.
Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
“This ‘PC’ world has never been more ready for Sarcasm,” exclaims Sarcasm Comedy Club founder Steve Trevelise. The WIP radio personality and veteran comedian, who honed his emceeing and managerial chops at the esteemed Catch a Rising Star, believes that “the comedy stage is the last place for freedom of speech.” Although some shows are rated PG and some are hard Rs, Sarcasm Comedy Club refuses to sanitize its performers for sensitive ears. For those who can take a joke, the uncensored humor hub’s calendar offers two Saturday-night shows per week that spotlight local cutups and national headliners. Those who dream of becoming comedians themselves can enlist in the Sarcasm Comedy School, in which they’ll learn the craft of standup, including joke writing, audience mining, and how to make your own heckler spray.
Since opening in 1975, Candlelight Dance Club has chased a single, unwavering mission: to curate an appreciation for ballroom dance while teaching its many styles. Six instructors stand ready to lead dancers through training to conquer foxtrot, swing, tango, waltz, and rumba steps. By offering both private and group lessons, Candlelight combines one-on-one attention from an instructor with group sessions that provide more camaraderie than a firefighting team moonlighting as a cheerleading squad. A bright, wood-floored studio hosts classes as well as the club’s weekly dance parties, which allow participants to try out learned moves in real time before debuting them in public. Many dance enthusiasts note a handful of dance-inspired benefits as their confidence shines, stress fizzles, and cardio endurance boosts.
While technically and metaphorically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Casual dining is elevated by meticulously designed restaurants that pepper a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
One pound of sliced Angus steak topped with a mix of melted cheese and Guinness barbecue sauce, served alongside a basket of fries. For finishing this behemoth yourself, the personnel at Harper's Pub treat you to a complimentary drink and add your snapshot to their wall of fame. More often, however, the kitchen whips up smaller sandwiches, wraps, and burgers packed with ingredients ranging from ranchero sauce to mozzarella sticks. Over at the bar, bartenders draw draft beer from 18 tap lines and stock 40 types of seasonally appropriate bottled beers in the fridge. Open until 3 a.m., the pub entices night owls with free WiFi, broadcasts of Sunday-, Monday-, and Thursday-night football games, and weekly hooting lessons.