The state-of-the-art equipment, convenient amenities, and variety of exercise classes at Courthouse Racquet & Fitness's six locations earned the club several of Jackson Free Press's Urban Living awards in 2011 and 2012, including Best Fitness Center/Gym and Best Yoga Instructor. Visit the flagship Lakeland location to swim in a pool of professional athletic proportions. Explore the 13,000-square-foot Madison 51 facility's yoga, spin, and boot-camp classes or the Northeast center's indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
The newest location in Brandon boasts more than 100 treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers, and other pieces of cardio equipment. Women can take advantage of the Downtown site's ladies-only cardio area. Three locations offer childcare, and the Byram facility has launched an afterschool program, where kids can do arts and crafts and engage in healthy physical activities in an environment devoid of teddy-bear drill instructors.
The sounds of metal against metal reverberate through the interior of Hokkaido Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar, as showy hibachi chefs delight their audiences with knives, spatulas, and safely airborne morsels of food. The chef stands in the center of an audience and orchestrates a fiery feast upon the hibachi grill. Steak, salmon, and scallops all transform under the chefs’ flashy techniques; each has a different repertoire of tricks, but they almost always perform the “volcano” maneuver that displays controlled spouts of flame. The atmosphere is a bit quieter behind the sushi bar, as a chef with 18 years of experience carefully rolls and slices fish that’s brought in daily and shushes anyone with enough gall to cut their food with a jackhammer. Earth-toned stone walls surround Hokkaido’s interior, which generates an upscale vibe with sleek dark chairs and booths. Large front windows admit streams of sunlight during the day, and hanging lamps exude a golden light over booths at night. To accompany flame-kissed or rice-wrapped food, bartenders pour specialty drinks at the bar, such as the Funky Monkey with banana liquor and piña colada mix, or teetotal with bubbly Japanese Sprite.
The pitmasters at Tays Barbeque have been barbecuing meats the old-fashioned way since the 1940s, when Millard Taylor opened first started serving up St. Louis-style ribs to the people of Columbia, Mississippi. What does "old fashioned way" mean? At Tays, it means hand-coating meat in a special dry rub, then letting it smoke for hours over a hickory-wood fire until the ribs are tender enough to break in half. The rest of the menu?comprised of recipes from two barbecue-loving families?gets just as much love and attention. Chefs smoke sausages and hot wings, compile pulled pork sandwiches, and carve up beef brisket for sale by the pound. All of Tays meats are served dry unless otherwise requested, and each is paired with two sides, like coleslaw or mac-n-cheese, a slice of bread, and a choice of original or spicy white barbecue sauce. Of course, man cannot live on smoked meat platters alone, which is why the chefs also serve up sweet helpings of banana pudding and peach cobbler, made fresh daily and topped with a choice of vanilla ice cream or an entire ham.
When the treadmill incline is at 90 degrees, your fingerprints are etched into the dumbbell grips, and you start talking to the exercise balls, it’s time to pursue a new way to challenge your body. The staff at VIP Women’s Dance invites ladies of all shapes and ages to fill that need with a dance, acrobatic, strength, and aerobic workout performed on a vertical pole. In their intimate studio, 11 brass poles line the hardwood floor surrounded by striped pink walls and black ceilings. During each 45-minute class, ladies try out new dance moves, spin on the pole, and do push-ups, all while learning to support their entire frame with their lower- or upper-body strength. In addition to group classes, the studio also hosts private classes and instructor-led private parties, divulging the sultry art forms of burlesque and belly dance.
Next Generation Fitness 24/7's storefront gym unfurls into an expansive studio where a buzzing hive of massage therapists, personal trainers, and kickboxing coaches motivates guests at all hours of every day. The gym's signature P90X and boot-camp classes run students through a gambit of cardio, strength training, and muscle confusion—a technique for working out every muscle group and maximizing regimens. To kick-start individual workouts, coaches teach students to make the most of the amenities, which include strength- and resistance-training machines and cardio equipment such as cycles and treadmills. Carpeted side-rooms house massage therapists whose hands roam backscapes to root out soreness and muscles tension, relaxing patrons after intense workouts full of hoisting free weights or letting the treadmill take a turn running on your back.
Mazzio's Italian Eatery's staff rolls out a buffet for lunch and dinner populated with tasty Italian cuisine that they also serve à la carte. The restaurant's staff has been perfecting its culinary modus operandi for more than 50 years, long enough to evolve the pizza selection to include three levels of thickness. Chefs bake standard, deep-dish, and thin crusts—available in gluten-free form—and load each with toppings such as caramelized onions and giant pepperoni. The kitchen makes pasta plates to order, some baked in the oven, such as lasagna, and some tossed in sauce, such as the mainstay spaghetti and meatballs. The signature calzone radiates the ambrosial scent of pizza dough stuffed with meat and cheese, and it's meant to be shared, unlike a pogo stick.