Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
When new owners took over Farmington Lanes in 2007, they immediately began installing upgrades. Now, the QubicaAMF HPL Lanes keep track of bowlers' strikes and spares with an automatic scoring system, and bumpers can be raised and lowered instead of superglued on and painstakingly removed. When bowlers need a break, they hit the grill and peruse a menu of burgers, pizza, and even breakfast items, or stretch out their fingers by playing video games and darts. Meanwhile, HDTVs in the sports bar and scattered around the alley keep everyone apprised of the latest sports scores.
At Firehouse Grille, meat is serious business. When dinner rolls around, the aromas of sirloin and new york strip steaks fill the room. These tender cuts arrive at tables accompanied by classic sides such as onion rings and baked potatoes, but even that isn't enough to grant them top billing. No, that belongs to the burgers, each one a testament to the victual artistry of Firehouse's chefs. Molded from certified Angus ground chuck, the patties are garnished with specialty toppings such as bacon, barbecue sauce, and gooey mozzarella cheese. The patties seem to have mastered the buddy system, as no burger is complete without at least two. They're also joined by an impressive selection of draft beers, all of which are perfect for sipping or dunking tater tots into.
Ronin Cafe's colorful menu of creative mouth entertainment combines spicy Thai specialties with Japanese dishes. Appetizers of grilled satay chicken ($5.95), with marinated cucumbers and peanut sauce, and deep-fried tofu ($4.75), served with sweet chili sauce and relish, bang the stomach gong before a delicate kabuki of sushi and sashimi unfolds. Along with various nigiris ($2), sashimis ($3), and vegan makis (6 pieces, $4–$6), specialty small rolls (4–6 pieces, $6–$12), such as the spicy yellowtail with garlic chili, and specialty big rolls (8 pieces, $14 and up) are tenderly crafted with shrimp and crab by expert chefs and christened with creative names such as dragon, red scorpion, white elephant, and enraged anteater. The indecisive and the nigiri novices can take the splitting headache out of menu decryptography by opting instead for Ronin Cafe's omakase ("trust") service, in which diners simply find a comfortable chair, name a price limit, and trust the chef to select the appropriate meal via telepathy.
With a steady rolling hand and a decade of experience, chef Wei of Fin Sushi commands an enticing, elegantly plated array of creative sushi rolls and classic Japanese entrees. Up from the depths comes the mighty Godzilla roll—a 10-piece titan of radioactively spicy salmon in dinosaur-green avocado and wasabi mayo ($19.95)—to challenges the Dragon roll to fiery combat, battling against eight slices of seaweed-wrapped tempura shrimp and mayonnaise ($15.95). Put your dining destiny in Wei's able hands with an order of Matsu sushi, 10 chef-selected and arranged pieces side kicked by one traditional roll ($24.95). Patrons can try a steaming plate of yakiniku in chicken ($17.95) or black Angus steak ($19.95), enlivened with tongue-twisting kimchi and spicy garlic sauce, or stick to the nigiri and sashimi menu to remain as raw as a professional wrestler.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.