Early in the spring, when the threat of snow still hovers over the state of Minnesota, the golf course at Sundance Golf Banquet Bowl is open. Later in the fall, when the threat of snow once again looms and golf carts begin to go into hibernation, the course remains open. Over the years, the 18-hole, par 72 course has become reliable place for determined golfers to battle for being the first or last of the year to sneak in a round. Recently, Sundance augmented its links with a bowling alley, inviting visitors to escape the elements and pick up some strikes in the process. Away from all the competition, the facility's bar and grill refuels tanks with popular house-made pizzas, half-pound burgers, and plenty of beer and cocktails.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
It's hard to hear "diggity" without thinking "hot" and "dog." So Diggity Restaurant serves up all-beef ones crowned with a variety of toppings. The chili cheese dog, for instance, comes doused with its namesake toppings. Others come with such extras as giardiniera, ghost-pepper cheese, or Fritos to add a satisfying crunch, much like replacing the bun with two saltines.
One even comes stuffed with cheese curds, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried. Those who opt to take the Death by Dog challenge must eat five of these hearty franks in less than 30 minutes to win a place on the champions board and dirty looks from a cardiologist.
Diggity's culinary team serves up other casual American eats, too, including half and full slabs of slow-cooked barbecue ribs, hand-smashed burgers, italian beef sandwiches, pasta topped with Cincinnati-style chili, and saucy meatball subs.
Harvest Grill's guests enjoy upscale American grill cuisine made with local ingredients, as well as rustic, yet sophisticated scenery. While backdropped by a stone fireplace with twinkling candles on a wood mantel, diners dig into cracker-crusted walleye sandwiches, house-cut filet mignons, Summit-beer-battered fish 'n' chips, and squash ravioli. Wines from around the world and crisp draft beers and cocktails complement the feasts.
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
There's one in every neighborhood—a cheerful little mom-and-pop sandwich shop where the servers are friendly and it always smells wonderfully of toasting bread. Chubby's sets itself apart with an eclectic menu of classic and innovative sandwiches, which chefs cobble together from freshly sliced meats and local ingredients. Bustling behind counters from the early morning until dusk, these cooks whip up timeless club, Reuben, and italian sandwiches and craft spicy pulled-pork wraps and apple-bacon paninis. They also hand out a variety of specials—including ribs, meatloaf, and soups—which, like the colors of the rainbow, change from day to day. Sandwiches in hand, guests can dine at the shop's tabletops beneath the glimmer of television sets.