Perched at Mirror Lake Dam, The Green Owl dispenses a delectable assortment of homemade salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Commence consumption with grilled garlic bread smothered in mozzarella cheese ($6) or steamed edamame ($6) seasoned with sea salt and served in a martini glass. Brioche buns hug black bean burgers ($8) like a protective mother bear and sourdough crust is the canvas for cheese ($13), white ($17), or barbecue chicken pizza ($19). Draft, bottled, or imported beer wash down solid grub as customers luxuriate in outdoor seating or nestle beside a cozy tiki bar. Once summer emerges from the cold, harrowing depths of outerspace, The Green Owl enthralls patrons with live outdoor music.
As a marble-top creamery and classic diner, Ferch’s Malt Shoppe & Grille satisfies hunger pains, ice-cream desires, and nostalgic longings with traditional American fare and fresh frozen custard within a throwback soda-shop setting. With 48 custard flavors and 40 toppings to choose from, Ferch’s treat specialists can create more than 1 million varieties of customized creamy concoctions. The malt shop’s black-and-white checkerboard floors, vinyl booths, and soda-fountain counters hark back to a simpler time when men wore hats and robot servants hadn’t yet begun their grisly uprising.
Created by the Ginatta family, Paciugo satisfies cravings with hot and cold gourmet coffee concoctions and small-batch Italian gelato, made fresh daily from all-natural ingredients. Hundreds of flavors make rotating appearances on the expansive menu of confections, which boasts fruity sorbets and milk-, soy-, and water-based gelato, all with less fat than traditional ice creams or salads sculpted out of butter. Candied Italian black cherries, Piedmont roasted hazelnuts, Sicilian pistachios, and Belgian extra-brute chocolate add richness to the carefully crafted Turin recipes. Customers can fill a piccolo cup with up to three flavors ($3.99) or make the leap to the grande cup's five selections to meet the FDA's recommended daily servings in one sitting ($5.59).
All of Badgerland Bowling Centers' six locations have a lot in common. At each location, groups hurtle colorful balls down slick, glossy lanes, refueling at an onsite restaurant between matches. All of the alleys host birthday, work, and fundraising parties and tournaments such as the Badgerland Bowling 300 Club—which has doled out more than $35,000 in cash prizes since 2002—and the Badgerland Open, which welcomed 113 competitors in 2011, one of whom snagged a grand prize of $500 and 1,000 bragging rights.
But like sextuplets working undercover for the CIA, each center also maintains a unique identity. At Badger Bowl in Madison, live musicfloods the lanes on weekends, and dancers jump and jive on West Coast Swing nights on Wednesday. Nearby at Dream Lanes, laser and disco lights slice through fog amid thundering music during Ultra Bowling every Friday and Saturday evening.
North Avenue Grill may be a diner, but it’s hardly a greasy spoon. Cooks build sandwiches, soups, and omelets from scratch, using local ingredients and a creative New American approach. Many dishes—including stacks of steaming pancakes—are gluten-free, and most that aren’t can be tailored to the needs of guests with wheat, barley, and rye sensitivities. Breadsmith, Rocket Baby, and Molly’s loaves form the foundation of many sandwiches, from the meaty Tosa cheesesteak to the vegetarian Portabella Baby.
Coffee comes from Sven’s in Bay View, whereas ice cream hails from Madison’s famous Chocolate Shoppe. Burgers are crafted by hand with fresh ground chuck and sirloin, rather than an 8-ounce can of hot-pink Play-Doh. Diners can relax in burnt-orange leather seats as they eat, or take part in Wednesday night movie trivia and Throw You Out Thursdays, when lucky diners are tossed to the curb after dining but before paying their tabs.
Located on the rolling greens of Brown County Golf Course, Safari Steak House offers diners a scenic destination for steakhouse cuisine and drinks. Chefs smother baby back ribs in barbecue sauce and sear USDA Choice cuts of juicy rib eye, porterhouse, or New York strip steak to order. Patrons can also opt for surf and turf entrees that pear tenderloin with haddock or broiled scallops.
In 1978, brothers Eugene and John Jetts lent their name to the sign above their pizza shop in Sterling Heights, Michigan. In the more than 30 years that followed, they’ve lost one of the Ts but gained more than 200 franchises across the country. Jet’s Pizza churns out thin-crust rounds and signature square-shaped pies in hearty deep-dish form. The eight-corner deep-dish style lets each member of a dining octet enjoy a slice of corner crust without fearing the paper cuts inherent in triangle slices. After loading pizzas with heaps of meats and veggies, guests have the liberty of flavorizing their crust for free, choosing from eight options such as garlic, sesame seed, Cajun, or poppy seed. To augment pies, Jet's chefs whip up triple-cheese turbo sticks filled with mozzarella, cheddar, and romano as well as regular and boneless wings draped in hot or sweet sauces.