Irina’s Restaurant and Bar combines American ingenuity with Russian hardiness in a way not seen since the purchase of Alaska. The eatery’s menu is a melting pot of culinary influences, made evident in the Moscow fillet, a cut of beef stuffed with mushrooms, onions, spinach, and a photograph of Ellis Island. Other examples include Russian pork shashlik skewers or beef stroganoff with Angus beef, peppers, and mushrooms. To wash down meals, the bar—which stretches out across the floor like an elongated wooden horseshoe—is stocked with Russian beers and a lineup of vodkas, served by a trusty barkeep or by your fellow patrons during Immature Bartender Night, held every evening after 9 p.m.
Even with Chicago's skyline some 300 miles away up I-80, the taste of Felix and Oscar’s deep-dish pizzas seem to bring it into focus. Its chefs pile up to 15 toppings on their authentic Windy City–style pies, layering Hormel bacon, pepperoni, and Graziano’s italian sausage beside less traditional add-ons, such as sauerkraut or shrimp. They ladle housemade meat sauce atop regular or gluten-free pasta and supplement their comestibles with imported beers and California wines. For diners on the go, Felix and Oscar’s allows customers to place their orders ahead of time to reduce the time they have to wait in the seating area. The pie-smiths also keep galas well fed with their in-house party rooms or offsite catering.
People wage wars at Incredible Pizza Company, whether against other drivers on the go-kart track, golfers in the black-lit Day-Glo mini-golf course, or the limits of their own stomachs at the buffet. The funporium’s more than 100-item buffet centers on pizza, with three styles of crust—original, thin, and deep pan, crafted from gluten-free dough upon request—crowned with more than 30 toppings. Verdant greens and freshly made dressings await visitors at the customer-beloved salad bar, and the baked-potato station comes with every necessity for side-dish construction, from cheese to the bacon bits from which bacon is built. A variety of sauces enliven the buffet’s fettuccine and spaghetti noodles, and homestyle eats such as hot dogs and Frito pie complement the Italian pasta’s international flair.
Meanwhile, in the indoor adventure park, gamers zip around a track in two varieties of go-karts—the stock-car speed and the slower Busch speed—as announcers share their turns, accelerations, and favorite steering-wheel shape. Alternatively, patrons can instigate harmless car crashes while piloting bumper cars—each decorated with a unique animal theme—or spend five frames toppling pins during bouts of mini bowling.
Elements Salon and Studios' stylist Britni Smith modifies tress hues, highlights hair, trims manes, styles curls, and spray tans. A haircut for men ($25) or women ($35) pares down unruly strands to reveal lustrous locks free of unsightly split ends and nesting finches. Add depth to coifs with face-framing partial highlights ($65), or emit an all-over glow with a set of full highlights ($80). Britni can revive dully hued hair with a color glaze ($30) or an all-over color ($65). Like the sun's rays, Smith has the ability to bronze skin with a spray tan ($40) and tell you when it is high noon. Salon guests can also refresh thirsty follicles with a deep-conditioning treatment ($25) or remove unwanted facial fuzz with a lip or brow wax ($15).
Bombay Bicycle Club, a vintage rock 'n' roll bar, fills up starved stomachs and eardrums alike with its decadent menu and floor-stomping live musical acts. Hum along to an eternally rotating roster of blues, punk, and country artists through a crunchy mouthful of deep-fried pizza dunked in homemade batter ($5) or pickle chips served with chipotle ranch ($3.50). Rhythmically wash down decadent eats with a cascade of one of 30 tap beers ($3–6) or a brown paper bag-clad 40-ounce brew ($8). Nose-ringed nostalgists can relive their mohawked childhoods with the After School Special, a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly ($4), while famished impersonators can use the peanut butter and bananas of the deep-fried Elvis sandwich ($5) to smear gourmet sideburns on their cheeks.
Like Sunday dinners and Friday game nights, the atmosphere at a Sam & Louie's restaurant revolves around family, and has done so since its first location opened in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska. Today, at each of the eatery's 22 locations, families bond over great conversation and an eclectic mix of casual cuisine from a menu inspired by traditional New York–style pizzerias. Eighteen specialty pizzas are hand tossed into thin-crust pies before being decorated with more than 35 toppings such as creamy alfredo sauce, Philly-style steak, and canadian bacon. The same daily made dough is used to construct calzones and strombolis, which ooze with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. Specialty dough can be whipped up to create gluten-free pizzas. The menu culminates in five 1/3 lb. Black Angus burgers and eight types of pastas.
Hailed in Metromix as the top-ranked Italian restaurant in Des Moines, Sam & Gabe's Italian Bistro earns its crown of laurels with a menu that features Northern Italian pastas, house-made Italian-American entrees, and a robust selection of wines. Servers ferry entrees of veal piccata and fresh gulf shrimp to tables as diners toss back bottles of imported beer. Spaghetti strands slither into the shapes of quarter notes as live musicians pepper the air with the sounds of modern jazz and baroque opera Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.