Whenever an adult purchases an entree at select restaurants, a child younger than age 12 dines free thanks to The Kids Club Card—an innovative pass that helps families save money when eating out. Participating eateries, such as Applebee’s, Dairy Queen, and T.G.I. Friday's, offer a variety of tastes for patrons who might have otherwise avoided restaurant prices by staying home and eating porridge. Local charities also benefit from the pass, receiving a cut of its proceeds when it's sold in their communities.
Rulli’s culinarians dish up pizzas, pasta, and seafood dishes born from recipes central to southern Italy, serving patrons in their 25-year-old dining area at their Middlebury location or at their newest spot in Elkhart. A range of appetizers, such as 12 broaster-style chicken wings accompanied by dunk tanks of barbecue, ranch, or vidalia onion sauce, pave the way for heartier main courses or Stooge-level food fights. Velvety ricotta, parmigiana, romano, and provonello cheeses comprise the lasagna’s melty strata, which trundle italian sausage toward forks on fragrant avalanches of marinara and signature sauce. Rulli’s pizza, which has been served at the Elkhart County Fair for two decades, bristles with inventive toppings such as spaghetti and meatballs.
Vivid Italian artwork and murals from local artist Rocky Weaver pepper the dining room, a delightful prelude to the neighboring Rulli's Bella Luna sports bar’s fun neon signage, clacking pool balls, flickering high-definition TVs, and live music. Foam-flecked taps line the full-service bar boasting a selection of robust wines, which nicely complement rowdy bands wailing or grape stomping live atop a well-appointed stage.
The hardwood lanes of Country Club Lanes invite amateurs and pros alike to wreak havoc on unsuspecting pins seven nights a week. The alley features bumpers for younger athletes and hosts special glow bowling for those looking to mix up their game or discover new T-shirt lint constellations under the shine of black lights. Strike after strike, spare after spare, players can refuel at the onsite snack stand, which distributes ice-cold refreshments and lighter handheld fare.
Pumpernickel's Pretzel Bakery serves up a selection of handmade pretzels, soups, salads, and sandwiches made with pretzel buns. Four signature pretzels—traditional, cinnamon, jalapeño, and whole wheat—pair with a choice of seven sauces, including raspberry mustard, spicy cheese, and salted caramel. Sandwiches place meats such as barbecue pulled pork, bavarian ham, and Angus beef hot dogs between house pretzel buns.
At PJ's Paesan's Pizza, cooks turn every hunk of dough into one of two pizzas. There's a hand-tossed New York–style thin crust for East Coast enthusiasts and a deep-dish pie that awaits midwestern palates. Atop either, cooks sprinkle custom medleys of more than 15 toppings, ranging from classics like green peppers to more creative fixings like pulled pork. To supplement those pies, the culinary team crafts plenty of other pizzeria favorites, including garlic bread laced with gooey cheese and subs filled with pepperoni and salami.
The terms “coward” and “brave” are neither insults nor compliments at Bangkok Place Thai Restaurant; rather, they signify the level of spiciness a customer can handle. Chef Keo Phannavong and his wife Ann helm the casual eatery, where Keo brings 20 years of experience—and a slew of his mother’s recipes—to the kitchen. Using fresh ingredients, such as basil leaves, lemon grass, coconut milk, and chili, the master chef concocts a wide range of authentic Thai dishes that pack as little or as much spice as the patron desires or can trick his date into eating. The restaurant offers familiar Thai favorites, such as pad thai and tom yum soup, as well as some more obscure entrees, such as pla jien—a steamed fish topped with ginger and baby corn.