Since greasing its first lane in 1958, Lariat Lanes has spent the past half century serving its community with family-friendly bowling and entertainment. Located just a short distance from downtown Minneapolis, the pin-punishing emporium touts a lineup of 12 ultrasleek lanes that lend their surfaces to leagues, parties, and daily sessions of open bowling. Memorabilia adorns the alley's walls to create a timeline of storied collectibles, including keepsakes signed by the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and the Beastie Boys. In between evading gutters and matchbox cars using the lanes as a drag strip, guests can refuel with hot dogs, wings, and nachos at the restaurant or sip sodas and beers in the bar, where local sports games illuminate TV screens.
When the amusement value of people-watching starts to wear off, shoppers at the Mall of America can ascend to the fourth floor to Rick Bronson's House of Comedy for professionally dispensed laughs. In front of walls painted with off-kilter murals of the city skyline, nationally renowned comedians riff and banter on a thrust stage that makes it easy for audience members to offer hearty handshakes after each good joke. Meanwhile, guests munch pizza, burgers, and northern treats such as poutine and cheese curds. Past standup superstars include Norm MacDonald, Steve-O, Tom Green, and a who's-who of comics seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman.
Poor Richard's Commonhouse whips up hearty platters of classic American pub grub and intrepid tumblers of signature cocktails against a cozy backdrop of exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. Oil rusty jaw hinges with starters such as the Samuel Adams lager mussels ($9.99), which bathes Prince Edward Island mussels in Sam Adams dijon-cream sauce, or the bison chili ($5.25/bowl), which couples locally raised, slow-roasted bison with fresh chilies, tomatoes, and spices, blanketed with pepper jack cheese and sour cream. The Colonial meatloaf ($13.99), dressed in a suit of bacon and anointed with an East Coast red glaze, blends Hereford beef and Compart Family Farms Premium Duroc ground pork with fresh herbs in a meal hearty enough to survive New England winters and tender enough to journal about it.
At Sam’s Grill, formerly known as Oak City, the menu's bounty of sizzling and hearty dishes reflects the best of American cuisine by incorporating a variety of our country's ever-present international influences. Though stir-fries and pastas abound, the Mediterranean is clearly the restaurant's greatest inspiration—dishes such as filet mignon kebobs and pizzas topped with gyro meat create a fusion of local and overseas flavors, and more traditional American dishes, such as the Cajun burger or baby back ribs keep palates firmly at home. Meanwhile, wine-savvy waiters educate clients on the wines available by the glass. Sam's Grill also adds a splash of nightlife to the mix by bringing in DJs with Thursday nights dedicated to Latin music and Friday and Saturday nights focusing on Top 40.
Over the last 50 years, The Park Tavern has perfected the convivial trifecta of eating, drinking, and bowling. A menu of gourmet burgers and traditional pub fare mingles with a drink menu of domestic and imported beers and wines for between-frame refueling. On Mondays, the alley fills with high-energy tunes, and bowling balls careen all night during the $5 all-you-can-bowl nights. The Park Tavern rolls out its varied bowling buffets for corporate events, birthday parties, or the anniversary of the end of bowling prohibition during the Nixon administration.
McCoy's extensive menu pairs updated comfort fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch with more than 55 barley pops, including Fat Tire, Boulevard Wheat, and Belgian-style Ommegang Hennepin Saison on tap. Complement a flagon of Rogue Dead Guy Ale with a starter of three soft, Bavarian beer pretzels ($6.49) sprinkled with rock salt and served with a “blue ribbon” cheese dip, or snorkel through a plate of crispy lobster spring rolls ($10.59) with Thai peanut sauce and plum chili. Herbivores and herbivoyeurs, meanwhile, will take heart in McCoy’s large selection of supper-sized salads ($4.99+), while inventive brick-oven pizzas such as the roasted vegetable ratatouille pie ($10.99) reimagine the classic disced dinner in a more rustic light. Entrees at the eatery are as decadent and diverse as the UN General Assembly's annual rave, and include the excelsior grand ($12.99), a smoked chicken-, bacon-, and green pea-loaded mac 'n' cheese. Hearty handhelds such as the 12-hour Reuben ($10.29)—corned beef brisket-, Swiss cheese-, and sauerkraut-filled beauty toasted between slices of marble rye bread—vie for your attention with the bleu cheese-encrusted beef tenderloin filet ($19.99).