County Line Orchard embraces guests with outstretched branches that hold more than 20 varieties of apples and a pumpkin patch flush with the warm and welcoming colors of the autumn harvest. Friends and families can traverse an orange-tinted wonderland with unlimited access to harvest activities of all sorts, from Moo-Choo tractor rides to fruit-picking excursions in the orchard. Those who attempt to navigate the two 10-acre corn mazes are well advised to fill rucksacks with butter, as even steadfast explorers must occasionally use their teeth to hack a path through the profusion of twists and turns. Bellies not filled with raw corn can make room for the bakery’s famous homemade donuts (not included in this Groupon) or an apple snagged from one of five U-Pick fields to which Grouponers enjoy unfettered access. Pumpkins available for purchase make ideal jack-o'-lanterns or catapult fodder, though honey farmers beseech guests to aim all launches away from the orchard’s active beehives.
El Amigo Mexicano understands that cravings for tacos, burritos, or chorizo can strike at any time. That’s why the restaurant fills its menu with breakfast selections alongside lunch and dinner options and stays open late. The eatery greets early risers with eggs scrambled with chorizo, smothered in red sauce, or delicately cocooned inside a tortilla. Lunch and dinner options sate cravings with burritos topped with melted cheese or gordita pockets filled with beans, avocado, and the diner’s choice of meat. Combination and à la carte options adjust platings to appeal to light or hearty appetites.
A lot has changed in the past 70 years: humans landed on the moon, rock 'n' roll stormed the charts, and the Internet revolutionized the way people laugh at cat pictures. While innovations are good for grabbing headlines, the chefs at Country lounge see the value of keeping things classic. In addition to juicy steaks and sauce-laden pastas, their bill of fare calls back to art deco decadence with bygone dishes such as shrimp de jonghe and oysters rockefeller. Dinners unfold at tables clad in burgundy-colored cloth, and a full-service bar offers post-meal cocktails.
Founded in 1996 at a lone store in Carrollton, Texas, Smoothie Factory began its journey simply by selling smoothies and nutritional supplements. The menu has since expanded to include frozen yogurt, juices, and healthy meals, but the franchise—which operates out of nine states and four countries—still focuses on its original mission: meeting the dietary needs of health-conscious customers with real fruit, nutritional supplements, and nonfat yogurt.
Each store mixes more than 30 flavor combinations, including Just Peachy, Very Berry, and Island Delight, a tropical blend of pineapple, banana, orange, and honey. Nutritional boosts such as caffeine, multivitamins, and fiber spin into chilled beverages to enhance weight loss and energy or give drinkers the cognitive ability to name all the stars in the universe.
Perched above the awning, a sturdy cow statue welcomes guests to the red-brick realm of Piatak Meats, first opened in 1910 and serving Merrillville since 1959. Inside, bright-pink cuts of meat line glass cases alongside homestyle heat-and-serve entrees such as lasagna and meatloaf. Culled from animals raised without hormones or added preservatives, the meat is chopped fresh daily, and staff also cut humanely raised Amish chickens by hand. Piatak Meats' signature house-made sausages include the flagship polish sausage made with garlic, as well as hot and mild italian sausage with whole fennel.
At BC Osaka, the chefs aren’t merely makers of food. Instead, they’re ringmasters, orchestrating the lively chaos of a hibachi grill into a meal that’s one part entree and two parts performance. At the island hibachi stations, chefs show off their mastery of food prep and knife work as they elaborate on an ancient Japanese barbecue tradition, resulting in tasty meals of filet mignon, garlic lobster, and teriyaki chicken. Each showman-cook-in-training practices their craft in front of their veteran workmates⎯many of them with up to 25 years of experience⎯for at least six months before earning a spot behind the grill and the traditional steak-shaped epaulettes of a professional hibachi chef.
In addition to hibachi shows, BC Osaka also houses a sushi bar lined with red-leather barstools, where guests spin in anticipation of tempura-shrimp dragon rolls topped with creamy avocado fillets, or exotic morsels of sea urchin and giant clam. A buffet also sates any endless appetite that makes its way past the dining area’s dark polished wood and tasseled Japanese lanterns.