Despite a close encounter with a hammerhead shark, Learn Scuba Chicago's Captain Bob just keeps on scuba diving. The aquatic expert got an up-close peep of shark teeth on his very first Caribbean dive, yet has scarcely taken his flippers off since. He started Learn Scuba Chicago four years ago in a garage as a grassroots effort to build community. Captain Bob and crew lead diving courses, which range from thrilling dips for beginners to instructor certifications. The calendar is flexible so students can plunge into indoor pools at their own pace at a variety of locations, such as Water's Edge Aquatic Center in Bensenville, the UIC campus, and Northeastern Illinois University campus, with open water dives held at Kankakee's Haigh Quarry.
Turk Furniture has a 125-year-long tradition of beautifying homes with furniture from brand names such as Palliser, Broyhill, and Flexsteel. At the start of each showroom visit, design experts render a quick sketch of clients' rooms, surveying existing furnishings while ignoring unmentionable elephants. Using this information, clients can redecorate rooms with a comfy recliner, update living areas with new entertainment consoles, and dress naked walls in leaning bookcases.
Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
Perky’s Pizza rustles up a variety of traditional and imaginative pizzas for famished families. With the family combo meal, banqueting broods choose one large signature pizza from Perky's Pizza's doughy roster, relieving a meat-masticating hankering with the double-cheeseburger deluxe, loaded with crispy bacon, hearty beef, and zesty barbecue sauce, or floating away on the Maui Wowie, which features chicken and sweet pineapple basking in a beach of red sauce. Choosy chowhounds point their noses toward the also-included one-topping pizza, selecting a meat, vegetable, or fat-free mineral to add sustenance. Six breadsticks take a dip in garlic or cinnamon before joining the culinary crew, and a troop of 12 chicken wings marches into position while chanting fight songs before being defeated by mercenary molars. Like bookends, a family-sized garden salad and dessert support the meal on either end.
For more than two decades, American Mattress has promoted peaceful slumber in bedchambers throughout the Midwest with their vast selection of mattresses, headboards, and linens. The sleep experts strive to stay abreast of the latest bedding technology: their Serta mattresses are made with gel foam that supports curves, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses repel allergens, mites, and poltergeists looking to spoon. This devotion to a good night’s sleep has helped them earn the title of Best Mattress Store from suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald five years in a row. Additionally, American Mattress doubles down on each of its beds with a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 60-day best-price guarantee.
The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.