The chefs at Sam's Pizza spend 60 minutes with each Chicago-style pie. They stuff its double crust with mozzarella, fresh toppings, and good intentions before baking it to a golden brown. Toppings for the Chicago-style and thin-crust pies range from the traditional (sausage or mushrooms) to the novel (gyro meat or nacho chips). The chefs at Sam's Pizza also concoct their own marinara sauce, ladling it onto calzones and platefuls of spaghetti.:m]]The chefs at Sam's Pizza spend 60 minutes with each Chicago-style pie. They stuff its double crust with mozzarella, fresh toppings, and good intentions before baking it to a golden brown. Toppings for the Chicago-style and thin-crust pies range from the traditional (sausage or mushrooms) to the novel (gyro meat or nacho chips). The chefs at Sam's Pizza also concoct their own marinara sauce, ladling it onto calzones and platefuls of spaghetti.:m]]
A procession of blips and blinks marches through Planet X's arcade room. The noise and neon spills over and accents the facility's surroundings, where guests can zap their least favorite cousins during laser tag, release pent-up road rage in bumper cars, or just stand, flabbergasted by the number of activities available. Though interactive entertainment is its bread and butter, Planet X also features a sports lounge with flat-screen TVs, beer, wine, and views of the kitchen staff tossing pizzas by hand.
Salsa del Rio's menu offers more than 30 classic Mexican dishes (most of which cost less than $10) and an array of ever-changing daily specials. Stick with staples, such as enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas, or introduce your appetite to the big boy burrito ($5.99), a gigantic tortilla wrapping your choice of barbacoa, beef, or chicken, plus a heaping helping of cheese, beans, and pico de gallo. Lovers of the leafy greens can choose from the cranberry, fajita chicken, or taco salads, and vegetarians can nosh a grilled veggie and cheese sandwich, with a stack of onions, peppers, mushrooms, swiss cheese, and cheddar cheese. If the vibrant oranges, reds, and greens mixed into the fresh flavors of Salsa del Rio's plates don't keep all your senses entertained, let the smell of spices tickle your nose and an under-table thumb war occupy your hands.
Long John Silver's staff of salty dogs stockpiles baskets with fresh seafood, chicken, and signature hush puppies, all doled out in a fast casual-dining cabin. Exchange Groupons in-store, and receive a punch card valid for five & More Meals. Try a two-piece Alaskan pollock plate anchored by a pair of diamond-filleted fish surrounded by a barricade of miniature igloos (a $5.99 value). Diners can also navigate their nosh-worthy cravings to land, where three, crispy-fried chicken strips await (a $5.99 value). Bountiful tails of butterfly shrimp adorn plates in a 10-part arrangement that lights up mouths with zesty accompaniments of lemon and cocktail sauce (a $6.29 value). All seafood and chicken plates cozy up with sides of tangy coleslaw, fries, and Long John Silver's lauded hush puppies, famous for entertaining diners by chasing silverware around the table.
When guests step inside Zins, they hand their car keys to a greeter who sees that vehicles are steered to a safe spot with the complimentary valet service. Next, they’re whisked to a white-draped table beneath modern chandeliers, where they can consider the menu’s internationally inspired offerings before settling on a perfect combination of small plates or opting for one big one.
Menu headings such as nibble, reminisce, begin, and experience hint at the range of culinary options. Chefs pair local cheeses with a berry reduction and housemade crostini and pan-fry thai crab cakes to dip in peanut sauce. Maple brown butter, sage, pecans, and parmesan coat sweet-potato gnocchi, and classic goulash made with braised Iowa beef zips to tables beside a housemade baguette.
It’s fine-dining cuisine that was almost lost to the community after the June 2008 flood. After the restaurant had been open less than a year, Cedar River overflowed its banks, and Zins was flooded with nearly 4 feet of water. Though the owners were devastated and unsure whether they’d be able to open, a steady stream of volunteers arrived to help them clean up—employees who wouldn’t be able to go back to work, family members, and friends, as well as people the owners had never met before. Moved by the hundreds of volunteers, they vowed to reopen and continue serving their community with renewed vigor. A year after Cedar Rapids had been evacuated, down to the minute, the restaurant opened for the second time.