Nicolino's chefs assemble fresh ingredients into hearty pizzas, pastas, and Italian entrees using decades-old family recipes while patrons wager on equestrians flashing across more than 60 plasma-screen TVs. The dining room beckons nongamblers and self-wagering competitive eaters alike with dishes topped in tangy tomato-cream sauces and imported prosciutto served amid chandelier lighting. Charbroiled steaks tempt landlubbing appetites, and rock shrimp, bay scallops, and fresh scrod lure taste buds out to sea. In the lounge, a candlelit bar hosts conversations and nine self-service terminals and a live mutuel teller field bets on horses at nearby Arlington Park as well as venues across the nation. Patrons flick 17 personal plasma TVs between races and other sporting events or search for insider commentary by Mister Ed on free WiFi.
Guests at Lavish Salon-Spa are treated with more than just a friendly hello when they arrive. After walking through the doors, clients can enjoy a healthy snack and cup of coffee or tea from the refreshment bar, while a friendly staff member dispels tension with a relaxing hand, neck, or foot massage. And the massage is only the beginning. From there, a hair designer, esthetician, or nail tech takes the reins and treats guests to a stylish look fortified by Goldwell products, a Dermalogica facial and a swift waxing treatment, or a mani-pedi topped off with vibrant China Glaze polish. Monthly parties and weekly Happy Hours tempt guests to return even before their next appointment for desserts, drinks, and complimentary spa treatments.
Much like a meteorologist or a twice-broken femur, the moose head hanging on the wall at Twisted Moose announces the changing of the seasons. The restaurant’s eponymous mascot is typically dressed up to celebrate an upcoming holiday or to support the home team, whose games are broadcast from the bar’s 17 large-screen TVs and three high definition projectors. Wide-eyed sports fans munch on American food such as thin-crust pizzas, half-pound burgers, and vegetables fried in a crunchy beer batter. Between plays, guests bond over rounds of darts while sipping drafts of Guinness and bottled craft brews.
Rustic booths and black-linen tables greet customers as they walk into Touch of Italy, setting the stage for the fresh meal to come. Zesty meat and marinara sauces, pan-seared veal, and seafood pastas arrive at tables after chefs assemble them to order from fresh ingredients instead of prepackaged herbs or wax garlic cloves. Diners can calm hunger pangs with combination pasta platters, dishes of chicken marsala, or steamy baked eggplant lasagna during lunch meetings and relaxing dinner dates.
At Marzano's Wood Fired Italian, pizza is such a serious business that the chefs won't even entrust the cheese to an outsider. Instead, fresh mozzarella is made in house for the restaurant's authentic neopolitan pizzas. When a pizza maker certified by Italy's Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani slides pies into the wood-fired oven, the creamy cheese bubbles atop sauce made from imported San Marzano tomatoes. On many of these pizzas, the mozzarella mingles with other traditional toppings, such as salami, arugula, or prosciutto di parma.
But the chefs are also aware that American pizza has become a class unto itself. Separate from the classically Italian pies are pizzas topped with barbecue chicken and onions, ham and pineapple, and italian beef and giardiniera. Make-your-own pizzas are also available, as are entrees like butternut-squash ravioli, seared scallops over mushroom risotto, and veal marsala. Echoing the kitchen's 1000-degree pizza oven is the dining room's large stone fireplace, which, like the server who inquires whether you ate your vegetables, gives Marzano's a homey atmosphere.
Jimano's Pizzeria's deft dough-tossers craft homemade crusts, succulent sauces, and pies layered with fresh ingredients for an oven-fresh menu of Chicago-style pizzas. Top a thin-crust cheese pizza ($15.80 for a 16") or piñata-pack a pan-baked deep-dish cheese pizza ($17.95 for a 16") with a panoply of ingredients, such as pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, or pineapple ($2.10 per ingredient for a 16" pizza), ensuring that modest pizzas don't have to arrive at the table undressed. Cooks also create stacked delights such as the italian beef ($5.85) or the crispy buffalo chicken sandwich ($5.99); baby back ribs ($16.99 for a full slab, $14.99 for a half slab) offer carnivorous sustenance coated in a homemade St. Louis–style barbecue sauce. The pizzeria's famed bread sticks ($3.99) satisfy carb cravings alongside a slew of pasta dishes, which arrive with sides of saucy banter and cheesy dialogue.