“Jedzcie pijcie i popuszczajcie pas.” For those who don’t speak Polish, the motto at Nye’s Polonaise Room may seem complex, but its translation is simple: “Eat, drink, and loosen your belt.” In fact, expansion has been the running theme at Nye’s since it set its roots back in the '40s. By 1964 Nye's original form, a bar, provided owner Al Nye with the funds necessary to purchase the space next door. Though he added a dining room, the bar's original features—gold-flecked booths, dark paneling, a curved piano bar, and a portrait of Chopin—remain, creating a vintage and homey feel.
Nye’s lengthy menu dishes up Polish classics, such as cabbage rolls and pierogi, as well as hearty 14-ounce new york strip steaks, cold-water lobster tail, and aged, bone-in, slow-roasted prime rib. Specialty martinis and the eatery’s inherent ambience make it a cozy place to talk, much like a candlelit phone booth. Nye’s also curates a full wine menu with pours from California, Spain, and Australia. All these ingredients come together to create a restaurant that's distinct and locally lauded, earning it a feature on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
The ruleta wheel at Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurant sends tablefuls of friends into a frenzy when one of the bunch is chosen to take a spin. Landing on the right space in this wheel can grant the entire table free drinks from a selection of specialty margaritas and cocktails. This is just one of the ways the staff amps up the festive atmosphere in the restaurant—there's also karaoke every night Thursday through Sunday. And thanks to the flat screen televisions, patrons can keep an eye on their favorite teams as they face off with rivals or trade secrets for keeping their shoelaces tied.
Patrons come as much for the atmosphere as they do for the menu of chicken flautas, cheese enchiladas, shrimp chimichangas, pork ribs, and other traditional Mexican cuisine. When the weather's nice they can dine outside, where umbrellas protect their entrees from the sun's sticky fingers. Regular lunch specials and the Monticello location's lunch buffet make midday dining even more enticing.
Tin Cup quiets vociferous stomachs with a multifaceted menu of regional pub favorites and classic ale absorbers. Embark on a masticatory celebration with an appetizer such as Tin Cup wings ($6.95), or jump straight to a burger-esque Juicy Lucy—the Minnesota specialty whose core of dripping cheese and other ingredients is enveloped in flame-licked beef and partnered with toppings such as caramelized onions, a fried egg, and hot sauce ($8.99). Other hunger-halting hand-helds include margherita flatbread pizza ($4.95) and the stately Governor sandwich, which takes a break from signing meaty bills into law to quell appetites with a combination of USDA choice steak, american cheese, onions, a fried egg, and Texas Pete's hot sauce ($8.99). A breakfast menu dispels early-morning mouth boredom on weekends.
The bustle of patrons and the action of vintage video games fill Chatterbox Pub, echoing against walls checkered with old paintings. Customers nestled atop overstuffed couches train their eyes on flickering screens filled with Atari, Nintendo, and Sega Genesis video game characters or board game pieces from Yahtzee or Connect Four.
Based on this casual, laid-back atmosphere, it might surprise guests to open the menu, which lists neither standard greasy pub fare nor a detailed treasure map to a VHS copy of The Road to El Dorado. Instead, its pages boast a wide range of artisanal pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, and steaks, along with a lengthy list of homemade desserts. Meals pair with pints of the pub’s own microbrewed draft beers, wines, and a wide range of specialty cocktails that wet whistles during sporting events, karaoke, open mics, and bingo competitions held throughout the week.
Mario and Nina Pelagalli use recipes passed down from family members from Rome and Naples as the blueprints for Casa Nostra Pizzeria & Ristorante's Italian cuisine. As the owners revealed to Sun Thisweek, Nina's mother creates the restaurant's sauces from scratch to ensure they carry on the family tradition of culinary excellence. Her concoctions blanket the 25 pastas on Casa Nostra's dinner menu, which also includes pizzas, paninis, and veal and chicken entrees. Having recently taken over a neighboring bar, the Pelagallis' restaurant now accommodates even more guests with roomier dining quarters and an expanded liquor stock. Evening entertainment includes Frank Sinatra tributes that pay homage to the crooner's singing ability and talent for intermittently firing blue lasers from his eyes.