Randa Marar-Mueller grew up in the restaurant business and always knew she wanted to open her own place. When she returned from Michigan to raise her two kids in her hometown, she found Bacio Café & Lounge up for sale and figured it was time to take the plunge. She called in her mother, renowned chef Norma Marar, and the two overhauled the menu and aesthetic, opening with a menu of grilled paninis, gourmet pizzas, and French- and Italian-style entrees.
While Norma crafts delicacies in the kitchen, baristas cum mixologists steam up lattes and specialty teas or mix a selection of gourmet martinis for after-hours drinks. Gelato—made fresh in-house daily—sweetens palates with flavours such pistachio and mango, and baked goods resting under cake domes and in oversized martini glasses conclude meals more sweetly than a hug from a grandmother.
The RyeGate's chefs draw from an array of culinary disciplines to create a menu populated with eclectic choices such as sushi, steakhouse fare, and seafood and Italian dishes. White wine veloute drizzles over a roasted chicken breast stuffed with garlic cloves and brie cheese ($21), and garlic shrimp scampi and fried calamari keep a 12-ounce Angus new york strip steak from floating up to the ceiling ($35). Meanwhile, chefs sprinkle italian sausage, caramelized onions, smoked bacon, and a bevy of cheese onto a thin crust pizza that bakes to a golden brown inside a stone oven ($15). Diners can complement their culinary journeys with a spicy tuna roll ($12) and sing tired forks a lullaby after finishing off a turtle chocolate tart for dessert ($6).
BluFin Sushi rethinks the concept of a sushi restaurant, fashioning specialty rolls with unconventional ingredients and a menu of entrees that blend aspects of American and Asian cuisine. The innovative spot's chefs serve up tender Kobe beef sliders and entrees that range from fish tacos to Japanese-style fried chicken, pounded flat and battered with panko. Hefty vegetarian rolls with names such as Monster Beast keep vegetarians from going hungry and munching on nearby Chia Pets. BluFin Sushi's kitchen also prepares sushi party platters for any occasion. An outdoor patio beckons patrons outside during warm weather, and diners can wash down bites with cocktails, beer, wine, and sake.
Fou d'Amour's bustling ovens beget a fragrant array of tasty confections and fresh lunch fare. Patrons can take in the surrounding décor as they relax on opulent upholstery, cozy up to plush pillows, or rest their heads on pillowy scones, which come in dream-inducing flavors such as banana pecan, dark-chocolate orange, and lemon currant ($2 for a large, $0.90 for a mini). Cappuccinos and hot teas keep mouth motors well oiled as they power through a mélange of decadent cupcakes ($2.25). A range of light lunch fare makes for satisfying quick bites or on-the-go meals, with plates such as deep-dish quiche ($5.95/slice) and chicken salad perched atop a cranberry-apricot scone ($3.50). Skip the kitchen cleanup and emotional egg-timer quarrels of home cooking with a comfort casserole ($7–$9), available in weekly rotating varieties such as chicken pot pie or tuna noodle, or with one of the carry-out dinners available each Wednesday ($10/person).
Burger Pointe quells ravenous cravings with a hearty menu of grill-seared, premium domestic patties piled high with fresh produce, cheese, and myriad tasty condiments. Customize each burger ($4.29) with Burger Pointe's selection of more than 20 free toppings, including lettuce, tomato, jalapeño mayo, thousand-island dressing, sautéed mushrooms, and blackened Cajun spice. Taste each gourmet ingredient harmoniously combined with fresh domestic beef in the stuffed chophouse burger ($7.95), or leave quenched by three miniature puck burgers ($3.89), ideal for slap-shooting into mouth-goals with a hockey stick made of french fries. Hand-dipped shakes and malts (banana, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and seasonal, $3.99) freeze brains into sugar-coated glaciers, and fresh, handmade potato chips ($1.99) prevent any abdominal potato famines.
City Kitchen pampers patrons with an eclectic array of sophisticated, inventive American cuisine. The dinner menu opens with appetizers such as jumbo lump crab cakes ($12.75), so named for the welt they gave the Earth after plummeting from the heavens, before moving on to hunger-halting headliners such as spinach-and-artichoke stone-baked pizza ($9.75). Like the best cowboy birthday cakes, 8 oz. beef tenderloin fillets ($32.95) and béarnaise-topped tournedos ($23.50) are constructed from Certified Angus beef and come partnered with Yukon gold potatoes. A laundry list of fresh seafood specialties flown in from Boston's M.F. Foley Fish Company, including Maine sea scallops ($23.75), brings its own velvet rope to the party in your mouth. A lunch menu sports expanded selections of sandwiches and salads to power noontime arguments about Grover Cleveland’s middle name.