Satisfying meals and handcrafted beer intersect with premium sports viewing at Lamppost Pizza and Backstreet Brewery, founded in 1976 by Angelo Barro and his sons, Dan and Tom. Today, the franchise welcomes patrons to 37 locations in three states, and the philosophy remains the same at all of them. Seven big-screen TVs broadcast football, basketball, and baseball games from around the leagues to entertain patrons sipping small-batch draft beers brewed onsite. Fans munch on traditional sports-viewing snacks, such as jalapeño poppers, potato skins, and buffalo wings. Chefs also prepare heartier entrees including garlic-chicken pasta, Pesto Supreme pizzas covered with artichoke hearts, and The Linebacker, a pizza loaded with pepperoni, salami, ground beef, sausage, and two types of bacon.
On the charming patio of Luna Rossa Ristorante, the flame of a heater flickers in the center of the al fresco space, which is low-lit by lights strung overhead that cast a golden glow on the crisp, white tablecloths. Frequently enlivened by live music, the patio and dining room open to diners during lunch and dinner to serve a menu of elegant Italian cuisine. Sourcing ingredients such as fresh buffalo mozzarella straight from Italy, Chef Mauro Di Rofi, from Rome, Italy, prepares tender spaghetti that mingles with mixed seafood in a spicy red sauce, classic Neapolitan pizzas topped with tomato, mozzarella, and anchovy, homemade pasta with smoked salmon, and rich cr?me br?l?e.
In 1999, Jordan Mullikin began working in Giorgio's of Chicago, his dad's restaurant. By age 14, he was already crafting original sauces to enrich his father's cuisine, rather than acting like a normal rebellious teen and opening his own restaurant across the street. It wasn't until after high school that he took the helm of his very own eatery, Chicago's Best, with the help of his industry-wise father.
These days, he runs Aioli, where he draws upon his years of experience and sauce-making skills to flavor sandwiches made with handcrafted specialty breads, as well as provide catering services for a variety of occasions. Here, he crowns pretzel bun burgers with chipotle aioli and grilled bell peppers, and fills toasted whole grain buns with grilled chicken doused in red wine BBQ sauce. Despite the change in focus, Jordan hasn't abandoned his Windy City specialties. Aioli's Chicago-inspired dishes range from Vienna beef dogs topped with peppers and celery salt to hot giardiniera piled atop housemade seasoned roast beef.
Tuscany Mediterranee Grill’s chefs settle for nothing less than fresh, quality ingredients in their Italian and Mediterranean dishes. They start with premium meats, such as Black Angus beef. Their herbs and vegetables are organic and always fresh, and sauces are made from imported hot red Italian tomatoes.
Diners enjoy the housemade pastas, risottos, steaks, and kebabs at intimate white-clothed tables often adorned with one or two long-stemmed roses in a small vase. Overhead, small crystal chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, bathing every table in a light that's softer and more pleasant than a hug from the Pillsbury Doughboy.
The flavors you'll find most prominently at Go Fresh are those of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins marinated in Mediterranean spices. Flavorful juices and healthy smoothies take center-stage, with staff blending together yogurt with options such as the Jade made with kale, spinach, four citrus fruits, and mint. And though the juices are healthy on their own, staff can boost protein and nutrient levels with add-ins such as whey protein or chia seeds.
On the other side of the menu, chefs focus on Mediterranean dishes blended with flashes of Indian flavors. This results in fusion dishes such as protein bowls filled with chicken in a mango curry sauce, served with a choice of rice or naan. They use a range of healthy ingredients, from wild salmon stacked onto kabobs to crispy falafel balls filled with hearty chickpeas and spices.
When the chefs at Italian Cravings Irvine created their menu of Italian favorites, they decided not to be too fastidious with their recipes. So in addition to their traditional Italian recipes, they also created fusion dishes using the flavors and ingredients of other cuisines. Plates of tender veal in a marsala wine sauce sit next to the chicken tequila?a bed of fettuccine topped with chicken, bell peppers, and cilantro, all drizzled in a tequila lime sauce. Alongside the Italian entrees, chef also toss pizzas with traditional and unusual ingredients, from pepperoni to barbecue chicken. They pair all of this with tall glasses of beer or wine, which help ensure that meals are long, jovial affairs?like marathons emceed by a standup comic.