The Chew Chew?s chef and owner, Scott Zimmer, may be too young to have experienced the height of America?s railroad boom, but that doesn?t stop him from feeling nostalgic for it. Zimmer has turned that nostalgia into something interesting, outfitting his restaurant with antique rail menus and ancient photos of trains. He invites guests aboard his culinary express, treating them to American-inspired dishes such as Colorado lamb chops, chipotle-barbecue chicken flatbreads, and center-cut filet mignon steaks with lump crab. The space embraces natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the illusion of an al fresco dining experience and let anxious guests keep a lookout for actual runaway trains.
For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
The Riverside Theater Guild's cast of performers aged 8 to adult playfully recreates the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in its production of Princess and The Pea. Audience members of all ages will hum along with Princess Mabel of Mudville as she sings, dances, and develops an unnerving obsession with legumes en route to the Kingdom of Snob Hill, where her prince awaits. Along with sparking smiles throughout the community, the Guild aims to instill storytelling skills in youngsters by casting local stars-in-training and holding theater camps during the summer.
Despite their tendency to end up boiled, GetMaineLobster.com's crustaceans somehow managed to keep one customer out of hot water. After waiting until the last minute to plan something for his fianc?e's birthday, Emilio put together a next-day delivery of fresh lobsters that turned into an impressive dinner. His gratitude joins a chorus of praise for the company, whose flavorful foods have been featured on Rachael Ray and in the Wall Street Journal. Each of the lobsters is hand-selected from the coast of Maine, whose frigid waters are famous for preserving the meat's sweetness.
In addition to lobsters, patrons can order a menagerie of seafood cakes, marinated meats, and hearty side dishes. Full dinners take gourmet fare out of the restaurant and onto home dining tables with several-course feasts prepared by Chef Margaret Salt McLellan, who was named the 2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year. Customers that lack Margaret's culinary chops can reference the site's collection of recipes, which boast everything from Cajun shrimp to stuffed lobster bursting with crab, scallops, and emotion.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.