Julie Berger's memories are saturated with images of dancers— teachers who inspired her, students she worked with, and professionals she revered. Entranced by the beautiful and transformative art form, Julie practiced dance throughout her life, attending intensive dance programs, performing in competitions, and teaching at local dance centers. Julie discovered salsa dancing while studying in England, and she instantly fell in love with its sultry movements and lively steps. Determined to share the newfound style with others, Julie founded her own salsa-dancing studio.
At Salsa in the Suburbs Dance Studio, Julie and her staff of passionate dancers lead classes in a variety of styles, including salsa, ballroom, and belly dance. The instructors work with students of all levels, helping them master form, technique, and rhythms. The teachers also offer children's classes in ballet, tap, and Zumba, ideal for youngsters trying to be more active or hoping to include a lively dance section in their next chemistry presentation.
Dark, wood-toned dining rooms, complete with old portraits, lamps, and knickknacks provide an amiable ambience for D'Ignazio's fine food and spirits. Equally suited for power lunches and romantic tête-à-têtes, as well as inappropriate combinations of the two, the 60-year-old dining establishment's menus focus on fresh steaks and seafood, with lunch fare ranging from pub-ish picks such as buffalo chicken wings ($9.99) to a lump crab melt served on an english muffin ($11.50). Dinner entrees include a freedom-satiating choice of side, such as a salad bowl or baked stuffed potato, and range from $17.99 to $37.99. Meatless options include ornate salads and rich pastas ideal for vegetarians and grazing brachiosaurs alike. A full-service bar pours out liquid complements to these meals, including an extensive wine list culled from both New and Old World locales.
Within the walls of the 200-year-old historical Lamb building, The Porch Restaurant at The Lamb's executive chef John Whalin conjures up a dinner menu featuring modern interpretations of classic meat and seafood dishes along with a half-dozen entree salads. Artichoke hearts and hearts of palm beat in unison in the crab-and-asparagus salad ($13.99) as free-range chicken breast with crab imperial wanders unfettered through a field of lobster sauce, mashed potatoes, and vegetables ($18.99). As guests wax poetic on the renovated dining rooms' contemporary décor, the sauteed shrimp and lobster risotto ($21.99) flirts with flatware, and the broiled lump crab cakes scuttle through a side of chipotle aioli ($21.99).
Piesmiths at Apollo Pizza partner an array of sides and salads with made-to-order pizzas slathered with sauce, covered in cheese, and polka-dotted with a potpourri of toppings. Descend fork first in to a chicken-caesar or greek salad before eschewing silverware to grab sides—such as onion rings, jalapeño poppers, or bacon-and-cheese-topped mega fries—with hands or telepathic mind powers. A serving of 10 buffalo wings smothered in sauce round out pre-main-course noshings before a fully customizable pie arrives at tables laden with four toppings plucked from a cache of more than 15 accouterments, including roasted peppers, ricotta cheese, and sausage. Throughout the meal, diners can split 2 liters of Coca-Cola, sipping it from individual glasses or, in accordance with Italian tradition, chugging it straight from the bottle while dancing the tarantella.
Inside Generations Restaurant, guests dine in style amid the warm glow of its elegant dining rooms, each one distinct from the last. Hanging lanterns illuminate the rows of booths and wooden bookshelves of the Library, while in the Drawing Room, a fireplace splashes heat on cushy armchairs. Beyond the curtained windows of the Banquet Room lies an outdoor patio, where cheerful white and yellow umbrellas shade tables and conceal guests from nosy satellites.
To rival the fine decor, the restaurant’s executive chef crafts an equally sophisticated menu of contemporary American dishes in the kitchen. Local, seasonal ingredients are combined to create thick steaks, innovative seafood dishes, and artisanal pizzas. On Sundays, the cooks assemble a brunch buffet with platters of smoked fish and cheeses, hot entrees, and a carving station of roast beef and pork loin. Throughout the week, the restaurant hosts special events, including Saturday-night live entertainment, Wednesday-night poker tournaments, and Thursday-morning busboys-versus-sommeliers games of capture the flag.
Twenty years ago, Jake's Hamburgers started serving up juicy, hand-prepped burgers from a single shop on Route 273. Dissatisfied with the modern burgers of competitors, the shop’s owners changed the name to Jake's Wayback Burgers. Today at each Jake's location, hand-crafted patties sizzle on grills until cooks stack them two or three high in buns. An ever-changing burger and shake of the month keep the menu from becoming tired, and toppings including sautéed mushrooms, grilled peppers, and onion rings add some novelty to the time-tested burgers. Further tributes to diners of yesteryear include all-beef hot dogs, house-fried potato chips, and chili-cheese dogs. The smooth crests of hand-dipped malted milk shakes beg for one to grab a straw or succumb to milk-shake-juggling crazes started by area carpet cleaners.