Growing up, Marcie Spampinato watched her father, Mike, masterfully manage a local country club. By seventh grade, she was working alongside him, and today—with a restaurant management degree from Penn State under her belt—she joins with Mike to co-manage their steak-and-sushi joint, Spamps.
Chefs trained in Japan artfully stuff the eatery's sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as black-pepper-crusted tuna and flying fish roe. Fusion flourishes such as kimchi tartar sauce, miso beurre blanc, and sake reductions give entrees such as rib-eye steak an Asian flair.
And much like a chocoholic's dream journal, the eatery's new cocktails revolve around sweet flavors, especially Marcie's favorite, the pumpkin-pie martini. Libations, which also include wine and beer, flow freely behind a copper bar with TVs or fill glasses in a dining room with exposed brick walls and private booths. At an outdoor patio dubbed The Grotto, lofted TVs illuminate trellises and tabletops as well as bar-goers shimmying to a live DJ's beats on Friday and Saturday nights.
At PBandU, founder Mercury Amodio reboots the classic school-lunch combination of creamy peanut butter on Wonder bread. Chefs smash and jar honey-roasted peanuts, and pair them with 20 toppings such as honey, bacon, and cheddar cheese for a menu lauded by Haute Living for its “simple, youthful appeal.” Alternatively, dining companions can forsake bread altogether with inventive dishes such as peanut-butter fondue and peanut-butter smoothies, all served by a horrified Mr. Peanut.:m]]
Warm aromas spill from Great Harvest Bread Co.’s bakery, as artisanal bakers craft whole-grain bread from Montana's hard red spring wheat that is stone ground each morning. They pack each loaf with hearty protein and nutrients, keeping the recipes as simple as possible to maintain the rich wheat flavor. In addition to their standard honey-whole-wheat loaves, the bakers create a variety of treats, including rosemary-garlic loaves, cinnamon pull-aparts, and asiago-pesto loaves. They also transform the bread into sandwiches, pairing the whole wheat with freshly sliced meats, cheeses, and ticklish pieces of lettuce.
Peace A Pizza’s menu offers gourmet pizza pies, strombolis, and salads that transcend the violent dough beatings and Pacmanic depression that typifies traditional pizza parlors. Guests can start training for chompathons with a Mediterranean salad ($6.99), which sprinkles crisp greens with a smattering of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, feta cheese, and cracked black peppercorn—all doused in a healthy deluge of Greek dressing. Pizzas can be harder to spot because they wear a variety of costumes. Patrons can order a 14-inch Philly cheesesteak ($15.49) smothered in sharp provolone or seek out a 14-inch honey-lime chicken, with breaded chicken atop mozzarella, garnished with mandarin oranges, cranberries, and drizzled with a zesty honey-lime dressing ($15.29). If you're more in the mood for stromboli, find out what it's like havin' a Roni Explosion ($6.99), a fold-over feast of rapidly expanding pepperoni and mozzarella served with red sauce.