As seasonal brews flow from taps behind Flanagan’s Restaurant & Pub’s wood-paneled bar, the waitstaff flits past the dining room’s framed artwork and hanging plants to deliver platefuls of Irish and American comfort classics to tables. In this congenial setting, buffalo wings, littleneck steamers, and crocks of french onion soup pave the way for 8-ounce burgers and fresh seafood.
A flaky danish enfolds prunes and almond paste. A banana-cream pie sports tufts of fresh-whipped cream. There’s a certain nostalgic quality to the baked goods at La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe, which is fitting for a place whose origins date back to 1952, the year nostalgia was discovered. Each morning, seasoned bakers whip up cupcakes, batches of real buttercream frosting, and sugar-laced pastries. They also knead dough for nearly a dozen varieties of bread including french, rye, and pumpernickel.
Though sweets are the shop’s focus, they have a full-catering menu with soups, sandwiches, and hot meals. In addition, they offer a wide variety of canned jams and salsa, plus organic dog treats.
When Baja Fresh opened its doors in 1990, freshness wasn’t on the menu at many fast-food restaurants. Disappointed with soggy burgers and floppy fries, the founders built a casual Mexican eatery around fresh, colorful produce and a commitment to healthy living. Cooks prepare meals by hand, using ingredients that hail from real-world farms rather than freeze-dried packages. Tacos and burritos brim with a choice of meats, including pork carnitas and charbroiled steak. Filled with shrimp tacos, tortilla soups, and grilled-chicken salads, a Healthy Choices menu guides diners toward meals that are low in fat, calories, carbs, and smog.
An extensive menu sets Midori Japanese Restaurant apart. A dozen-plus hibachi dinner selections counter 20+ midori special rolls, including selections of Alaska crab, batter-fried sweet shrimp, and yellow fin tuna—which in the wild, amid a school of tuna, looks like the school bus. Sushi and sashimi abound, too.
There were seven wonders of the ancient world, but there are eight Nanking Restaurant locations in the New York City area. The restaurants are named for a Chinese historical era defined by its fusion of different culinary traditions. Chefs here prepare each dish with an effort to maintain its historical flavor, creating a mix of Asian cuisine in each plate of sweet-and-sour chicken, Thai-style curry lamb, chili paneer, and sichuan shrimp. As diners savor those dishes, they can admire the restaurant's picturesque interior, which includes red-and-gold-checkered walls, crimson accents, and gold statues of lotus flowers grown from carefully planted jewels.
Under the umbrella of The Bowling Proprietors' Association of North Jersey, an eclectic group of alleys work together to fill the region with the thunder of scattering pins. At most of Bowling Proprietors' bowling centers, bowlers keep track of pummeled pins with automatic scoring, and bumpers, which arrive at the call of a button, keep balls on course without filling the gutters with retired VCRs. Snack bars at some locations bolster ravenous bowlers, and game rooms in select centers keep hand-eye coordination in peak condition. Free WiFi is available in some centers so that winners can exercise bragging rights.