More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
Though it's known for its molcajetes—Mexican hot stone bowls prepared with special salsas—El Tejaban Mexican Grill also whips up more than 150 other dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Specialty house margaritas soothe palates after spicy helpings of nachos or Huatulco pizzas covered in beans, Mexican sausage, and pico de gallo. For a new take on intoxicating flavors, guests can dive into the camarones 1800, an entrée that spotlights tender shrimp spiked with your choice of tequila or 100-proof truth serum.
Cha gio, or egg rolls, are perhaps one of the most recognizable dishes in Vietnamese cuisine. At Vina Restaurant, this traditional dish is wrapped in rice paper and fried before it is served with fish sauce. The menu continues from here to numerous other dishes, including hot spicy chicken, beef-sauteed potatoes, various stir-fried plates, and the popular Vietnamese Pho soup. Vegetarian meals are plentiful—fried rice, kung pao mock duck, tofu—but so are meat and seafood options. Try one of the rice noodle salads, or the fresh Vietnamese chow mien.
Although each dish served at Somos Peru is made on the spot using fresh ingredients, the recipes that guide preparation date back many decades. The Custodio family opened their first restaurants in Lima, Peru in the 1960s, and since 1984, younger generations have been sharing the tropical flavors of their coastal homeland with diners in the City of Lakes.
Splashes of lime, fresh and fried seafood, and stir-fried dishes in thick soy sauce characterize the menu at Somos Peru, which opens with appetizers such as cebiche de mariscos—a citrusy salad of poached mussels, shrimp, calamari, sweet potatoes, and cilantro—and closes with desserts such as crema volteada—Peruvian-style flan. For the main course, diners can enjoy strips of tender beef and veggies over rice or cast a line down onto a plate of arroz con mariscos—a Peruvian interpretation of paella filled with fish, mussels, shrimp, calamari, yellow peppers, sweet peas, and special spices.
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.