Inside Penguin Foot Pottery's large, bright working space, which also serves as a gallery for local artists, seven potters' wheels and two electric kilns invite the fingers and hands of adults and children to reach for the highest creative heights. Adults can train wayward digits to obey the wishes of the imagination in a hand-building class or learn how velocity and steady guidance can make a lump of clay turn into an elegant pot, vase, or model of a local shopping mall during beginning throwing (more proficient potters can opt for the intermediate/advanced throwing class). Kids' clay classes, offered at levels one, two, and three for artists ages 7–13, incorporate basic building and glazing techniques and produce new projects every week. Parent/child classes are also available. Classes meet weekly and most take place on weekdays. See the website for schedules.
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As night falls on the corner of Lawrence and Central in Jefferson Park, Central Kitchen and Tap's towering sign blazes to life with a neon invitation to "stop in" and shining arrows helpfully pointing the way. The vintage-inspired fixture wouldn't look out of place beside a roadside eatery from the 1950s, and it perfectly conveys the restaurant's spirit before diners even step through the front doors. Central Kitchen and Tap manages to walk a fine line between two ambiances by combining the counter service and charming booths of a casual diner with the full bar and assorted televisions of a neighborhood pub.
The family-friendly tavern welcomes everyone and this is readily apparent in the menu of American classics, which also includes the occasional international treat. Roasted chicken, slow-cooked ribs, and grilled pork chops seem directly inspired by home-style recipes. However, the selection also features dishes such as saffron-tinged Spanish rice with grilled shrimp and a traditional pasta bolognese with braised beef marinara. In between bites of comfort food from home and abroad, diners can also enjoy a refreshing pint of beer or a glass of wine.
A large chalkboard hangs over the central bar and counter section, laying out the entire menu in neat handwriting. Small black-and-white photographs line the walls beside the slate-blue booths, although the televisions also keep guests' attention by playing various sports broadcasts. For the children or the young at heart, the diner features a couple of arcade games that allow patrons to pass the time in exchange for a few quarters.