The owners of Bombdigity Bar & Grill?dubbed by one of the owner's 9-year-old grandaughter?wanted to quickly sum up their eatery?s dining experience with one word. And the menu is bombdigity, with highlights such as salads, wraps, and the Bomb burger, stacked with bacon, grilled onion, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, house barbecue sauce, jalape?os, and onion rings. Inside the log structure, which is surrounded by the Plum Creek Arboretum, 4,888 square feet of space is topped off with a rustic cathedral ceiling. A medley of flat-screen TVs surround a horseshoe-shaped bar and the rest of the tables in the expansive dining room. Outside, two fire pits are surrounded by seating and tables for up to 100 people or 70 deer.
While bowlers have become accustomed to playing under fluorescent lighting and perching on vinyl seats, Jillian's updates the experience with a nightclub atmosphere and modern decor. Each lane in the black-light bowling lounge holds up to eight people in a luminous glow that?s harmless to the eyes of baby bats. Between bowling frames, three Brunswick Black Stallion billiard tables engage those with the urge for further friendly competition. Alternately, patrons can turn to the game room where they can get their adrenaline racing. Players sate between-set hunger pangs with the dining room's menu of American eats such as hot wings, burgers, and pizzas.
It's more likely that Illinois River Winery founder and winemaker Gregg Kane is out in the field or tinkering in the wine lab than in the chair behind his desk. Thanks to his hard work, the winery's tasting room offers a selection of more than 30 varietals daily, from crisp, dry wines with vibrant acidity to wet wines known for their unique ability to quickly soak into a shirt. During warmer months, grab a glass and head out to the patio, where live music sweetly serenades sippers every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
When you think of Illinois, you might not think of a vineyard capable of yielding award-winning wine, but that’s exactly what you get with the Faltz Family Vineyard, which supplies Fox Valley Winery. The vineyard produces the grapes for wines that have won various awards in national and international competitions.
The vineyard, located about 20 miles away in Sheridan, supplies grapes through its more than 25 acres of vines draped across the rock-ribbed ledges of the Fox River Valley. This is where the Faltz family, their friends, and their employees spend many days coaxing the crop through the long growing season, checking for proper chemistry, and harvesting the grapes before they turn into talking raisins.
WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel, invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.