Mario Dovalina and Edwin Ptak established the original Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in 1967 in order to satisfy diners craving authentic Mexican dishes. With more than 40 locations in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana and traditional eats that are sold across the United States and even in Mexico, Pepe's appeases a wide variety of noshers with its hearty options. Appetizers such as chips and fresh guacamole made daily or chili con queso ready bellies for veggie burritos bursting with seasonal vegetables. Flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports games or ballerina wrestling matches dot the spacious walls at the casual Homer Glenn eatery, keeping diners in their seats long after their shrimp, pork, or vegetable fajitas are finished.
Rokwelz Bar Meets Grill piles plates with classic pub fare that is well met by pints of varied brews slung in a jovial neighborhood setting. A frosty domestic beer ($3), glass of wine ($5–$7), or spunky mixed drink ($4.50–$7) can cool palates scorched by the punchy, jalapeño-topped Light My Fire burger ($8.99). The brotherly-love-laced beef slices and soft mozzarella cheese of the philly steak Samich ($8.99) presents a sentimental counterpoint to the unblinking new york strip steak ($18.99), a seasoned city dweller that eschews taste-bud small talk in favor of forthright flavor. The chefs at Rokwelz use their uncanny origami skills to flip and spin disparate ingredients into delicious wraps and paninis, such as the ham, cheese, and pesto-strewn Lucky Lefty's panini ($8.99). To cover deafening sounds of satisfied chewing, Rokwelz occasionally hosts live music, and on nice days, guests may elect to be seated outdoors on the large patio.
The Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association has offered patrons ball-rolling entertainment with numerous local member centers for more than three decades. Over the course of two games (up to a $4 value each), hole-bearing balls can spend at least 20 frames gracefully gliding across waxed planks and toppling tiptoeing pins, or alternately fall victim to the gutters' tempting embrace. No matter which of the 28 participating locations patrons decide to patronize, their toes will be stylishly covered in a pair of rental shoes (up to a $4 value) that work to minimize bipedal friction and maximize the uniformity of spontaneous song-and-dance numbers.
The grill gurus at Charleyhorse Restaurant sizzle a menu of sandwiches, entrees, and burgers within sports-centric dining digs. Wax handlebar mustaches over plates of Rollie cheese fingers carved from 40-pound blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese before they’re served with a side of marinara sauce ($9). Buffalo shrimp wraps brim with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, and cheddar jack cheese ($9.87), and burgers such as the Smarty Jones, piled high with bacon, cheddar cheese, and fried egg ($9.69), can power patrons through a marathon session of viewing marathon blooper videos. Large appetites may sample entrees such as the pot roast with beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions ($11.95), or nosh on Charleyhorse's malty basket of Carlton fish ‘n’ chips ($10.37).
At TomKelly's Chophouse and Pub, an emblazoned cloverleaf over the door may grant Irish luck to all who enter, but it’s the menu of Irish-inspired pub fare that leaves eyes (and stomachs) smiling. Emerald Isle dishes of corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie join American counterparts including pizzas bedecked with buffalo chicken and po boys topped with prime rib, grilled onions, and mozzarella cheese.
While devouring Irish eats, guests can take in sporting events from 14 plasma TVs or tap their forks to the rhythms of live DJs, who tend to put on better parties than dead DJs.
Post Game Pub & Sedona Grille's upbeat crew slings hearty sandwiches, piping pizzas, and zesty wings from an extensive menu selection. Prevent bellies from roaring at children by savoring a Sedona-stuffed burger, a half-pound patty packed with onions, jalapeños and bacon, and coated with barbecue sauce ($8.95). Specialty pub wings don their breading, dive into in a deep fryer, sear on the grill, and sidle onto plates wearing a bold slathering of honey mustard, barbecue, or hot sauce ($6.95 for eight; $9.95 for 12). Diners can stage their own extreme Wheel of Fortune tournament by spinning a 12-inch pub pizza ($8.50+) and then demanding a trip to Barbados.