Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
Babe's Sports Grille offers a rollicking combination of sports-bar charm and nightlife options, with live music on the weekends, a breezy outdoor patio, and hearty eats. Eyes hustle across the menu and into the defensive line of hefty appetizers, including sautéed Cajun shrimp salad ($8) and Babe's famous wings, accompanied by one of seven sauce options such as garlic-parmesan or barbecue ($7.50 for a dozen). Guests can sink baying canine teeth into a 14-ounce strip steak, served with garlic bread ($14), or pop breaded shrimp, fries, and coleslaw into gaping maws ($8). Specialty pizzas harbor time-tested culinary combinations such as the barbecue chicken ($10) and the four-meat Italian Feast ($14), and Babe’s make-your-own pies ($9+) challenge patrons to elect their own toppings, like bite-sized state senators. Fridays and Saturdays showcase the stylings of DJs and die-hard dancers, proving that, when performed correctly, modern dance can be considered a sport.
For the quartet of entrepreneurs behind Lake City Tavern, there's no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to pub food. Hence the eatery's mostly traditional lineup, ranging from fried green beans to smoked jumbo wings tossed in garlic parmesan. On occasion, though, cooks reassemble classic ingredients in creative ways, such as stuffing fries, bacon, egg, and cheese into a breakfast wrap available all day.
Pints and mixed drinks complement feasts, which unfold amid a near constant stream of entertainment, from dart leagues and sports on flat-screen TVs to live music and karaoke. In the summer, Lake City Tavern unveils its spacious outdoor deck and bar, which surrounds a sand volleyball court where patrons can showcase their spiking or bury their dessert for later.
The culinary technicians at Johnny Malloy's Sports Pub dish out a menu of palate-pleasing game-day specialties. Warm up injury-prone teeth with a quintet of wings ($4.25) in one of 15 flavors, from mild-mannered Texas sweet to saucy hot garlic buffalo. Carnivorous canines can chomp at the Malloy classic, a half-pound patty cloaked in melted swiss and sautéed mushrooms ($7.99) or a succulent half slab of ribs ($11.99). The mexican pizza, a dough disk painted in taco sauce, two cheeses, tortilla chips, and a multitude of south-of-the-border fixings ($12.99+), transports diners to the guacamole-paved streets of Cancun. A slice of creamy cheesecake ($3.99) sweetens the dessert menu.
As a typeface, the Helvetica font communicates with no flourishes; it's a bare-bones style where what you see is what you get. Striving for the same simplicity, Helvetica Juice Bar & Cafe, which is run by the same owner as the Latin-themed Burroco Grill, offers a culinary experience that comes off as similarly natural and elegant. Inside, rustic raw-wood tables, art installations, and exposed-brick walls welcome guests as they approach a chalkboard holding the café’s simple menu of sweets and savories, gourmet tacos, crepes, sandwiches, and Latin American–inspired dishes.
As cooks prepare guests’ orders, they work only with ripe fruits, fresh meats, and other ingredients that have never been canned, frozen, or preserved. Topping the list of sustenance is a selection of sweet crepes made with Nutella and ice cream, or studded with fruit and cookies. Savory options may include Latin-inspired eats, such as barbacoa tacos. The café’s signature smoothies boast bananas and mangos, and juice blends incorporate fruits from around the world, such as high-fiber curuba, vitamin-rich lulo, and Caribbean fruits such as maracuya, lulo, and guanabana, A BYOB establishment, customers often bring liquor to add to the juice drinks, turning them into specialty cocktails. As further show of the café’s conscientious offerings, Helvetica’s iced and hot coffee drinks are squeezed from direct-trade beans and served in biodegradable cups.
When Herb and Bobbie Brugh opened Herb's Tavern in 1963, they couldn't have foreseen what an institution it would become. Over the course of the last half-century, the tavern has stayed true to its signature dish, the Herb burger, in which a 1/3-pound patty oozes with mushrooms and grilled onions as well as dozens of other topping options. The friendly, inviting ambiance hasn’t changed much either. The building, constructed in 1936, still maintains the same vintage feel it did in the ‘60s due to the bricks' regular use of anti-aging cream, and the restaurant still maintains a family-welcoming atmosphere. The menu’s hearty appetizers and entrees range from hot sandwiches to seafood dinners of perch and walleye, which can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio on warm days.