When childhood pals Michael Caringella and Armand Christopher bought Elmwood Park's Victory Tap in 1956, one of their first orders of business was determining whom their new establishment would be named after. In the end Michael won the deciding coin toss and, to dodge any complaints that might arise, slyly chose to dub their eatery Armand’s Victory Tap. With Armand’s original artwork gracing the walls and Michael’s decadent thin-crust pizza flying from the oven, the restaurant received far more compliments than criticisms; and although Armand sold his portion to Mike in the 1960s, the eatery—since renamed Armand's Pizzeria—still thrives today.
City dwellers and suburbanites alike can taste a slice of the original thin-crust pie at any of Armand's 10 locations. Though menus differ slightly at each eatery, all contain thin- or pan-crust pizzas crowned with an array of fresh toppings, ranging from ham, bacon, and pineapple to feta and kalamata olives to italian beef and spicy giardiniera. Beyond pizza, the chefs pull fresh-baked mozzarella mostaccioli from the oven, glaze baby back ribs with tangy barbecue sauce, and assemble hearty sandwiches from italian beef, italian sausage, and genuine italian leather.
One fish peeks out inquisitively from behind a lichen-covered tank. Others swim through the windows and railings of a sunken ship, passing odd artifacts such as an electric guitar or a sign reading "Tricycle parking only." Surreal scenes like these aren’t accessible to most landlubbers, but they’re part of a worldwide subaquatic playground for Dive Right In’s students and staff of certified dive instructors and instructor trainers. An SDI, ERDi, and TDI five-star instructor training facility, the shop is helmed by teachers who coach their customers to achieve RTSC standards, and employ many of the same skills they use to train police, fire department, and lifeguard dive teams.
Among the caves and wrecks of local quarries and Lake Michigan, instructors prepare their trainees to dive down as far as 60 feet, the farthest depth at which they can guarantee there’ll be no sea monsters. They also lead courses in TDI technical diving, diver First-Aid, and specialty certifications such as adventure or rescue diver. Inside the dive shop, techs sell and repair masks, snorkels, wetsuits, and gear such as dive computers, regulators, and tanks.
In 2005, Golf Digest named The Links at Carillon among the best courses on Route 66?the highway artery that connects Chicago to L.A. and has famously served as inspiration for uncountable odes to middle-American life. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the facility's three nine-hole sides are named the Red course, the White course, and the Blue course. Each enfolds golfers in a test that demands such all-American traits as creativity (on diversely shaped bent-grass fairways), concentration (on undulant greens), and stick-to-itiveness (necessary to locate one's golf ball among the thousands of Easter eggs littering each lake bed).
Then again, it might just be happenstance. After all, each course adheres firmly to the links style of golf course design, a mode of landscape architecture that owes more to the Scottish lowlands than to Oklahoma's Dust Bowls. Hallmarks of such courses include few trees, deep bunkers, and lots of water?features with which golfers become intimately familiar as they string any combination of sides together for full 18-hole rounds.
Seven levels of UV beds populate the private tanning rooms of Unlimited Tan?s numerous Chicagoland locations and join forces with automated spray-tanning booths to forge a war against wintry pallor. Tanning equipment tiers build upon basic level lamps to include extras such as high-pressure bulbs, aromatherapy, and cooling mists designed to keep clients comfortable and make it easier to maintain their hue over time. For the UV averse, spray-tanning booths send automated jets of pigment misting over bodies in 60 seconds, with the full, streak-free results gradually developing across 24 hours, like a whirlwind romance between sloths. Each of the salons also stocks a full supply of lotions from brands such as Australian Gold, Designer Skin, and Swedish Beauty, which works to protect skin and enhance the life of any tan.
The gurus at Colorific Hair Color Salon believe that in order to successfully transform looks, you need a plan. Before any strands shift hues, a director colorist meets with new clients to craft an attack strategy based on their hair type, facial features, and desire to camouflage themselves in a field of wheat. A dedicated technician then custom blends a mix of Schwarzkopf color products, deftly painting and using foils to create the desired look.
Although their products are high quality and their services are indulgent, Colorific’s crew keeps costs low. To do this, they let patrons blow-dry and finish their own look at a self-styling station. But for those seeking a full-service salon day, they also offer precision cuts, styling lessons, and makeup applications using the natural, preservative-free bareMinerals line by Bare Escentuals.
Earth Mama Esthetics owner and aesthetician Karen Ley understands that the success of a skincare regimen hinges on the quality of the ingredients, which is why she stocks her spa exclusively with Skin Scripts Organic Enzymes, Dermalogica, and FarmHouse Fresh skincare products. Karen?a Certified Dermalogica Expert?and her staff nourish and hydrate faces with a variety of client-customized facials and a custom Dermalogica Bio-Active Peel, which only certified expert level salons are able to offer. Robe-clad men and women can also partake in face and full-body waxing, or ear piercing using Studex products.
The interior at this strip-mall spa is imbued with a homey and relaxing atmosphere radiating from the warm red and cream hues of the four treatment rooms, greeting guests with the promise of transformation.