For more than three decades, Ann Byrd has been lending her artistic flair to traditional European cakes and pastries. She has a true penchant for creating stunning wedding cakes––a talent that remains a cornerstone of her business, Bridal Cakes by Ann. Aside from these tiered masterpieces, Ann creates cupcakes and cake pops in an ever-changing array of flavors that includes red velvet, chocolate, and carrot cake. Her skewered desserts are a hit at celebrations, as they come ready to dip into a chocolate fountain or fight with like swords.
Walls the color of frozen margaritas and fresh guacamole surround visitors to Tipsi Monkey, their electric green hue mirroring the energy of the restaurant's busy goings-on. But despite the game-watching nights, Vegas nights, and dance parties filling its schedule, Tipsi Monkey is all about the food. Classic Mexican food dominates the menu, including carnitas slow-cooked for three hours, and chorizo and potato tacos. A bevy of aged tequilas adds a piquant note to meals and keeps the steam-powered avocado-masher running.
Just off the Illinois Beach State Park, the mascot of Franks & Fries—an anthropomorphic hot dog—greets passersby with a wave of his cane and a tip of his hat. Perched on the restaurant’s red-and-yellow sign above a few outdoor tables, the mascot serves as an ambassador for the menu of cooked-to-order bites such as Chicago-style hot dogs made with 100% Vienna Beef. Along with burgers, cheesesteaks, and baskets of seasoned curly fries, cooks prepare desserts such as fried twinkies, fried Snickers bars, and fried Oreos.
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.
Located three miles from Six Flags, The People's Choice Family Fun Center's canary-yellow, 43,000-square-foot arena buzzes with the thrill of friendly competition across 150 arcade games and the 18-hole Rocky's Fun House Miniature Golf course. Styled to mimic a circus, the venue features statues of carnival barkers who challenge guests to step right up to skee-ball and air hockey. Players gather loot at the redemption center, where they can exchange spools of tickets won at arcade games for the more than 1,000 prizes, from candy and stuffed animals to electronics and a lifetime of self-satisfaction. Servers at the food court dish out festival eats including cotton candy and pizza, and vendors at Hershey's Ice Cream Shoppe fill cones, cups, and top hats with frosty treats. The center also plays host to holiday events and private parties throughout the year. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the carnival resides an 18-hole miniature golf course known as Rocky's Fun House Miniature Golf. Here, putters tiptoe through a darkened wonderland of glow-in-the-dark circus shapes. A phosphorescent replication of trapeze artists, elephants, and escaped monkeys running amok greets putt-putt posses in the circus-themed segment, challenging their ability to focus on deviously placed holes. A moving ferris wheel towers over players as they size up the unique challenges of each hole and read the grain of the AstroTurf; fun-house mirrors bend beams of light into goofy, distorted reflections. At the final hole, which is guarded by a strongman bell ringer, those who sink a hole in one win a free round of golf for two and the lifelong friendship of Rocky, the triceratops mascot.
The cooks at George's Gyro carve thin slices of gyro meat from rotating spits to serve with soft pitas or stacked atop the George's burger between layers of bacon and barbecue sauce. The menu also stars such staples as the maxwell street polish under a mountain of grilled onions and the italian beef smothered with hot peppers and cheese. Sides from fried okra to house-made french fries perfectly complement meals, much like yellow mustard perfectly complements purple ketchup.