Within easy walking distance from the swooping neon, thundering pins, and intergalactic bowling murals of Glo-Bowl Fun Center lies a tranquil restaurant complete with stone fireplace. In fact, it's in the same building: not content with just a typical snack bar, the proprietors created a full spread of meaty sandwiches, sweet-potato fries, barbecue ribs, and other classic American fare. On select nights, the open patio hosts laidback live music that never overwhelms conversation, and guests are welcome to tote their meals into the alley if a favorable bowling wind suddenly arises.
Under the guidance of Debra Mindham, the Centerville Tea Room's chefs dole out handcrafted English aperitifs, sandwiches, and tea. Prix-fixe meals such as Through the Looking Glass march into mouths with a parade of four mini finger sandwiches on homemade breads, along with a pair of pastries, and baton-twirling scones ($14.95). Prime roast beef dons a crown of blue cheese and reigns over horseradish mayo within the blue beef sandwich ($8.95), while a cup of the soup du jour ($3 for a cup, $4.95 for a bowl) warms chilly soul sacks.
Handmade Amish blankets and local delicacies call to Tammy Herrara. On a trip to Wisconsin, she visited an Amish market and fell in love with the concept of selling natural goods in bulk to help keep community members healthy. With help from friends, she soon discovered a perfect location in her hometown to sell a slowly expanding inventory of gluten-free and homemade foods. Today, her market sells everything from Michigan blueberries and freshly ground peanut butter to Mystic Monk coffee—the proceeds of which go toward rebuilding the Carmelite monks’ rectory in Wyoming. Patrons can also stop in for a quick cappuccino and one of Tammy’s turtle brownies, or they can peruse handmade Amish wicker baskets from northern Wisconsin. With its wood laminate flooring, local radio tunes, and on-call phrenologist, Friend's Country Market harks back to neighborhood shops and general stores of yesteryear. A recipe board even sits on the store’s wall, inviting visitors to paste their favorite recipes for other customers to try at home.
Expressly Leslie Café, born from a Woodstock Farmers Market concession trailer, was named one of the best vegetarian dining spots by readers of the Northwest Herald. The menu brims with Middle Eastern specialties such as falafel, hummus, and pita pocket sandwiches, along with salads hailing from Morocco, Israeli, and Egypt. All these dishes are freshly made in the restaurant without additives, high fructose corn syrup, or Spam-filled Twinkies. You can follow owner Leslie Cook's thoughts on vegetarianism, cooking with wholesome ingredients, and current events in the world of nutrition on her blog.