The bistro menu at Pinstripes can be served on the lanes and courts, in the dining room, or on the outdoor patio. Fill the first frame of your meal with a small plate such as the antipasto and cheese platter ($12). Pizzas such as the sweet and savory prosciutto fig flatbread ($12) arrive on wooden planks fresh from the wood-fire brick oven. An extensive wine list taps straight into Pinstripes' cavernous wine cellar. The candy-coated chocolate martini made with real Godiva chocolate ($9) is a perfect chaser for chocolaty house-made s'mores ($6). Pinstripes' Sunday- brunch spread includes a custom Bloody Mary bar and a magical chocolate fountain where strawberries and marshmallows bathe in nummy nectar (adults $22, kids $12).
At Arezzo Ristorante, chefs hand-press fresh batches of dough into thin crusts, ladle the disks with sauces made from Italian San Marzano tomatoes, and toss them into a blazing brick oven. This process, which adheres to strict standards of the Associazione Vera Napoletana, earned Arezzo Ristorante the Citysearch award for Best Pizza in 2009. In addition to pizzas, chefs toss house-made pastas with sautéed vegetables and traditional Italian cured meats.
Arezzo Ristorante’s interior pays homage to Italian culture as well: an earth-toned mural of the Italian countryside unfolds beneath marble arches, and stone mosaic floors flicker in the warm glow of the flame-fueled pizza oven.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
Wrapped in a blanket of comforting atmosphere, al Vento’s décor flashes rustic charm with earthy tones, white tablecloths, mirror-lined walls, and a relaxing outdoor patio. Head chef and owner Jonathan Hunt's variable menu changes every day, so expect surprises as Hunt draws on his years of culinary expertise to devise the latest dish. You might fork-dive into small bites such as the sweet-corn-and-roasted-pepper bruschetta ($4.50) and Sicilian stuffed mushrooms with pine nuts and mother sauce ($7.25)—or you might prep for the next gravity outage by loading up on hearty entrees such as grilled pork tenderloin with two reductions ($18.75) and jumbo scallops with roasted-squash risotto and tomato brodo ($21.50). Fresh pizza and pasta make for excellent traditional options as well, while still leaving room for a dessert such as crème brûlée ($6) or the true-to-its-name Chocolate Oblivion (pastry crust with a sweet chocolate-ganache center topped with diced strawberries and vanilla crème anglais, $6). If all this food leads to a sluggish palate, punch it awake with a Cioccolatino martini ($8.50) or a glass of Solopaca Rosso ’07 red wine ($6) from the drinks menu.
"Your food should be something you get your hands on and become a part of," Rob Dubnecay preached to a reporter from CBS Minnesota. "Sitting back with a fork and knife is kind of boring."
Along with his brother, Chris, Rob developed his philosophy—and his palate—while growing up in Chicago, where the brothers could hone their motor skills by wrapping their hands around Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Hoping to introduce their childhood cuisine to Minnesota, the duo founded Chris and Rob's Chicago's Taste Authority, where each week trucks haul in ingredients straight from the Windy City, such as fresh poppy-seed buns and sausages wrapped in old mobsters' hit lists. True to the authentic big-shoulders style, cooks top Chris and Rob's all-beef hot dogs with everything but ketchup: mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, sport peppers, and a sprinkle of celery salt. The brothers have also adapted their roots to other Chicago favorites including sandwiches of sliced Italian beef, Chicago thin-crust pizzas, and Maxwell Street polish sausages.
At Parkway Pizza, the chattering rhythm of pool balls punctuates the sounds of busy silverware and diners blowing on steaming-hot pizza slices to cool them. The buttery, thin crusts brim with adventurous toppings that include shrimp, goat cheese, and even sauerkraut, and chefs can also craft gluten-free dough for the pies. Parkway's thick hoagies spill ham, turkey, and cheese, drawing nervous glances from anyone finishing a legal defense on a napkin. Rotating seasonal brews click together in glasses, sometimes spilling honey-colored rivulets of Fulton's The Lonely Blonde or earthy Summit IPA in the shade beneath Parkway's red and green patio umbrellas. Chatter drifts out into the sunshine as a delivery driver glides past on a bicycle with a cart for pizzas.