When the owners first laid eyes on the 117-year-old house that would later become Capital Pub and Hot Dog, they viewed it as an opportunity to accomplish a long-lived goal rather than as an archaic, dilapidated building. Today, the once-condemned structure stands completely renovated and now serves as a dining hotspot where neighborhood regulars furnish their bellies with 100%-all-beef Klement's hot dogs and signature cocktails. The laid-back eatery's 13 Capital Dogs bear such unique toppings as homemade chili, crispy Fritos, and buffalo hot sauce, and its hearty sandwiches punch hunger in the gut with Angus beef, marinated chicken, and american cheese. Headlining a hefty appetizer menu, sweet-potato fries drizzled in honey and accompanied by marshmallow-cream sauce charm taste buds with bites sweeter than love notes written by Oompa Loompas. Capital's sleek, intimate space treats stompers to warm wooden floors that glimmer beneath burnished dining islands and beer-inspired signage.
The Science Station illuminates the minds of children and adults on the workings of science, math, and technology with hands-on exhibits, puzzles, and games. Play paleontologist with the Dinosaur Exploration Station, complete with time tunnel and dig box, or visit the Math Mania room to help kids hone number skills through games. In the Animal Clinic, tots can play doctor with faux-furry friends and learn how to care for real ones. The Science Station houses a Museum Store with education games for ongoing imagination stimulation. The Science Station is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
Nominated for Best Family Restaurant on CityVoter's 2011 A-List, Steamboat Garden has been serving up affordable family food since 1933. Today, guests at the boat-shaped restaurant can peer through its bright red portholes to watch as the friendly staff fills tables with steaks and seafood, breaded pork loin sandwiches known as Tug Boats, and seven incarnations of a signature hamburger that has been a Falls Avenue favorite since the 1940s. Between bites, diners sip old-fashioned floats made with 1919 draft root beer and then send instant photos of their empty plates to mom by accessing the restaurant's WiFi with a laptop or aluminum foil helmet.
The same venue that hosts weddings and upscale dinners also welcomes established comedians and rock bands, making First Avenue Club a go-to destination for all manner of events. Inside, a full-service bar overflows with 12 draft beers, 40 bottled beers, and a wealth of mixed drinks. Further behind the scenes, the kitchen fires up hearty entrees such as roast pork loin and baked cod.
“How do you take your coffee?” asks Andy Morse, son of Breezy Hills Vineyard owners Darrell and Roberta Morse. “We ask people that a lot.”
Here’s what they’ve learned: people who take cream and sugar usually prefer sweet, fruity wines, and black coffee drinkers tend to go for robust, smoky red wines. The staff starts with this simple question because they understand that wine tasting can confound the novice. No snobs, the Morses start off new wine drinkers by introducing them to the basics of tasting and then allowing them to explore for themselves the unique sensory experience of their 17 locally made wines. Handcrafted elixirs such as their popular Misbehavin'—which blends red and white wines to create the pale blush of a sunburned ghost—pair well with the vineyard’s delectable plates of chocolate truffles and nuts.