Although customers wearing crushed-red-velvet suits will feel extra special at the restaurant and lounge, the cuisine will charge regularly attired patrons with similar vigor. Wild Abandon's menu features American cuisine with French and Italian influences and a Northwestern flair. Get started with a goat-cheese torta and garlic bread ($11.50) or some steamers (clams steamed in a white-wine garlic-butter sauce; $11 half order, $16 full pound). Entrees such as cioppino stew (fish, shellfish, shrimp, and scallops; $16 half, $21 full) and vegan linguine soffritto ($8.75 half, $12.75 full) make for hearty plates; curb a more powerful, mind-controlling hunger with a selection from the Most Hearty menu such as chicken champagne (free-range chicken breast stuffed with chevre, prosciutto, and spinach in a champagne-butter sauce, $21). A crème brûlée ($4.75) or the house-made ice cream and fresh-fruit sorbet ($3.50) gives the gastronome in every diner a flavor-filled nightcap.
The Center has welcomed kids onto its farm since 1936. It probably wasn't as much of a novelty back then, when Illinois was home to more than 220,000 farms and the U.S. government issued everyone a farmer's hat at birth. But that number has decreased steadily with each decade, dropping to just 76,000 by 2010, per the USDA. Which means that today, The Children's Farm at The Center gives kids and their families something increasingly special: the chance to experience life on an independent rural farm. Here, chickens lay eggs, goats give milk, and horses eat hay harvested right on the farm. The staff also leads tours of these grounds and explains how each animal fits into farm life. They even let kids pet some of the livestock before finishing up tours with a hayride.
For a completely immersive experience, The Children's Farm hosts summer camps for ages 3–17. During each camp session, campers live on the farm for days or weeks at a time, spending their days riding horses and caring for the animals.
Before they're served up on plates or tidy carry-out containers, all of the spiced meats served at Alzain Grill are first embraced by the leaping flames that live beneath their grill. Those spouts of fire sear flavor into the spit-roasted kebabs, whole chickens, and shaved shwarma that characterize the all-Mediterranean menu. The blackened proteins arrive atop beds of spice and vegetable-infused rice.
Of course, the chefs cook more than meat. They prepare many of the Mediterranean Sea's famed vegetarian delicacies as well, such as hummus, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and falafel sandwiches. They toss diced cucumber and dried mint with a dressing of Greek yogurt to make a unique salad, which also happens to be great for the skin should you happen to fall asleep on your food.
Doctor of Chiropractic Chris Tomshack opened the first HealthSource office in 2006 and has watched his business take flight. Named No. 1 New Franchise by Entrepreneur in 2011 and profiled in Inc., HealthSource has grown to more than 400 offices nationwide. The expansion is due in part to progressive-treatment protocols and business systems and in part to the experience Dr. Tomshack gained while in the US Air Force and the MBA program at the University of Toledo, and at Palmer College of Chiropractic, where he graduated summa cum laude.
At each of his offices, a team of chiropractors, licensed massage therapists, and trainers helps to alleviate ailments such as disk degeneration and fibromyalgia. The team can also tailor treatments to alleviate pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, or arthritis. Licensed, board-certified acupuncturist Shannan Walker performs sessions that help relieve pain and stress. A progressive-rehab program works with body areas that are known to cause trouble, such as weak lower backs and rebellious pinky toes.
Bertucci’s Restaurant & Lounge evokes a wilderness retreat with log-cabin-style walls, hardwood floors, and a central fireplace on a bed of stone. Exposed rafters teem with greenery and the rising steam of chicken and veal in authentic Italian preparations, in dynamic sauces such as lemon wine and marsala. The open space mingles cozy ambiance with more than enough space for catered banquets that serve up to 100 people. Seafood fillets such as salmon and halibut insulate pasta draped with garlic, olive oil, and marinara. Patrons can venture outside to sip wine or an espresso drink amid the sprawling verandas of Bertucci’s open-air patio, where a fountain stands in a pool of water and falcons swoop down to snag unattended cannoli.
A series of red-and-black awnings leads passersby to Ciao Ristorante, where they step into a massive dining room designed to accommodate large groups and warmhearted family functions. But with its dark wood, French doors, and soft lighting, the space is equally suitable for more intimate evenings out. Over a bottle of wine or a few martinis, guests dig into impeccably Italian pastas, steaks, and seafood. The menu harbors such delicacies as filet mignon in artichoke-mushroom wine sauce, and racks of spring lamb seasoned with garlic and rosemary. Aside from more refined dishes, Ciao’s chefs also find their way into stomach’s hearts with comforting platters of pasta, including old-fashioned gnocchi and pillowy fresh ravioli.