Egg rolls. Sweet and sour shrimp. Chicken Szechuan. JC's Sunnyside Restaurant has all the staple foods of Chinese cuisine covered. But the chefs also prepare dishes inspired by other countries in Southeast Asia, from Mongolian beef to Thai spring rolls and bubble tea. Tiny globes of tapioca rest at the bottom of the brightly colored beverage, floating there until someone slurps them up with a straw or rescues them by throwing a miniature life preserver.
Thirty years of practice has given the chefs at Irish Rose Saloon a refined sensibility, which they use to craft accessible pub food that pairs flawlessly with the bar's selection of craft beer on tap. The chefs travel to Chicago markets each week to find the freshest seafood, meats, and produce. Once they've dreamed up inventive daily specials, the options are displayed on a chalkboard menu that hangs on the restaurant's exposed brick wall, featuring entrees like duck meatloaf, jamaican pork, and sustainable fish such as Lake Superior whitefish and shrimp that always bring fabric bags to the grocery store.
These specials join the regular favorites on the lunch and dinner menus, including housemade veggie burgers, linguine with housemade italian sausage, and chicken breast baked in a wood oven. Patrons can team their selections with dozens of draft beers, such as regular and seasonal suds from New Holland and Flying Dog breweries.
Family-owned Minero's Pizzeria doesn't just serve standard Italian-style pies. It also has selection of nearly a dozen specialty pizzas, along with a roster of appetizers, salads, Italian Beef, and more. Minero's is perhaps best known for their signature 24-inch pizza?a formidable creation called the Hurricane.
Just beyond the clattering pins at Don Carter Lanes, the cooks at Shooter’s Bar & Grill slather chicken wings in sauces such as teriyaki and Cajun, and load custom half-pound burgers with ingredients that can include everything from cheese and onion rings to fried eggs and peanut butter. In addition to pastas and four-topping pizzas, they prepare eight leafy amalgamations, such as chicken caesar salads and taco salads. For dessert, they forge The Big Dipper, whose medley of brownies, ice cream, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, hunks of Oreo and chocolate, chocolate Swiss Rolls, and cherries remains consistently visible above the 41-degree line of latitude.
Each facility in the family of Rockford-Area Bowling Centers enlivens the classic game of bowling with its own signature amenities. On Friday evenings, the staff at Don Carter Lanes temporarily extinguishes its warm, vintagey glow and replaces it with a dimly lit club atmosphere as DJs from 97 ZOK descend upon the alley, pumping out beats that mingle in the air along with a light and fog show. For supplementary entertainment, the Don Carter location also offers a gaming center, and the Park Lanes alley recharges guests with beer and deep-fried fuel at its onsite pub. The Cherry Bowl location keeps serious bowlers properly outfitted with a pro shop, saving them the hassle of paper-mâchéing their own heads to form makeshift bowling balls.
Though deft at trick shots, Tyler Voorhees doesn't expect beginning pool players to immediately master the game's intricate physics and geometry. So he focuses on fundamentals during his private and small group lessons at Rockford Billiard Cafe, even filming his students so they can review their techniques with video feedback. From there, pupils can join one of the café's leagues, vie for the top spot in a tournament, or just play a pickup round on 1 of 17 tables. An in-house pro shop even stocks more than 150 pool cues for purchase, as well as onsite cue repair services.
Not everything at Rockford Billiard Cafe revolves around its namesake sport. Darts hit bullseyes, royal flushes trump other hands on video poker units, and catchy tunes resound from an online jukebox. To reenergize patrons after long stretches of playing or dancing, cooks serve up classic bar snacks such as buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and pizza.