Southern-style sides such as collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato fries flank Little Ricky's entrees of signature baby back ribs and overstuffed sandwiches. Bartenders nimbly find their way around a vast array of top-shelf liquors to mix drinks such as the North Shore Iced Tea, Ricky's Manhattan, and locally produced North Shore tapwater, but won't turn up their noses at a request to crack one of about 40 bottled beers in stock. With full-wall windows facing a low-lit room done up in black and crimson, Little Ricky's interior combines the professional polish of a national chain with the easygoing local charm of the neighborhood hangout its founders intended it to be.
J N Michaels' voluminous menu of classic American diner fare provides myriad meal options to sate the cravings of every guest at any hour of the day. Whether the time of day is early morning or long after the sun begins snoring below the horizon, cooks sizzle breakfast skillets, assemble lunch sandwiches, and plate hefty dinner platters. They craft many of the dishes from scratch, and in the eatery's bakery, they whip up pies and pastries that join handcrafted, old-fashioned milkshakes to conquer sweet teeth's lingering postmeal demands. J N Michaels is devoted to enriching its community and frequently helps support nearby schools' and churches' fundraising efforts.
At Tapas Gitana, waves of steam steeped in saffron, chorizo, and seafood stock rise from paella pans and dishes featured on ABC's Hungry Hound to carry palates away to Barcelona. Cold tapas twine ingredients such as avocado, seranno ham, and manchego cheese, and hot tapas exhibit tiger prawns that fuel the sharing and conversation of small-plate dining. On the outdoor patios, glasses of wine clink together and effuse stories of sun-soaked Spanish grapes the hue of a matador's sports car. Chef Andy Novak appeared in a culinary demonstration hosted by Sheridan Road magazine, in which he cloaked sizzling shrimp in lemon and arbol chilies to forge a dish ideal for serving with pasta or distracting party guests from cartoon-silhouette holes in walls.
Specializing in sandwiches and salads served from the kitchen of An Apple A Day Catering, Meg's Café maintains a cozy setting for the day's ritual food sacrifice. At lunch, a vegetarian foccaccia sandwich overspills its banks with pesto, red onions, goat cheese, and zucchini flotsam ($7.59). A create-your-own omelette ($9.99), meanwhile, will appease architects tired of clients rejecting their vision of condominiums filled with mushrooms and melted cheese. At the sound of the dinner sousaphone, quell querulous appetites with a Thai chicken salad ($11.99) before digging for buried flavor-treasure through the grilled salmon topped with chilled cucumber-dill sauce ($16.99) or the orange-glazed half roast duck ($16.99).
At Olly Olly Play Café, pirates bury treasure, knights rescue princesses from dragons, and parents watch as little ones develop social skills through creative play. The interior space looks like a storybook spilled over into reality, with troves of costumes and toys spread beneath a ceiling painted to resemble a cloud-filled sky. A castle stands at the entrance, serving as the junction between different rooms where roads wind through town houses and a kid-size pirate ship lets little ones imagine attacking all-you-can-eat cruise buffets.
Aside from open play, Olly Olly Play Café educates kids during music classes that range from Baby Signing to preteens belting out Broadway songs. Elsewhere, a menu of locally sourced salads and sandwiches fuels visitors and their health-conscious imaginary friends.