Owned by the same family since its 1967 opening, Mariano’s Tavern combines hearty, stick-to-your-ribs cuisine with the fun and energy of a neighborhood pub. Guests can dive into casual menu items—such as hot and cold sub sandwiches and cheese pizzas—or splurge on heartier Italian dishes including veal parmigiana, mussels marinara, or chicken scallopini. In addition to playing pool and ogling televised sports, regulars can also entertain themselves by joining Texas hold'em tournaments every Wednesday. The competitions are free to enter, and winners take home cash prizes and keys to the Lone Star State's governor mansion.
Chris, Cardinal Hollow Winery's owner and winemaker, ferments more than 2,000 gallons of juice each year to fill the facility's wood-paneled, cabin-like interior and its tasting room with more than 25 innovative varieties of the potent potable. Both independently and as part of the grape-cobbled highway of the Montgomery County Wine Trail, Cardinal Hollow invites visitors to wet their whistles at tastings and nourish brain orchards in classes. A two-hour lesson includes a full tour of the facilities such as the tasting room, which can be rented for parties of up to 100 people. Along with a tasting, guests will be given an overview of the history and the process of winemaking. During the class, oenophiles sink incisors into salty cheese and crackers while absorbing lessons on wine-and-food pairings at a bar that's supported by sturdy wine barrels. Guests can also peruse Cardinal Hollow wearables at the winery’s retail shop or groove to the live music that permeates the air about once a month.
The pizza experts at Vinny's Pizzarama endlessly innovate new flavor combinations to construct a robust menu sizzling with an impressive array of pan, gourmet, and stuffed pies. Tasting teams begin synchronized digestion with starters such as the curly cheese fries with cheddar or mozzarella, or a plate of beer-battered onion rings. Patrons can relive perilous lemon-hunting expeditions on the isle of Capri with a large chicken caprese salad, which bursts with romaine, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and diced tomatoes. Dough-lovers can nosh on a pan pizza, such as a red or white bacon-tomato pie, or stuffed pies including the chicago pizza with fresh-ground sausage. For voracious herbivores, the veggie lover's pizza delivers with broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms, and the gourmet hot-wings pizza combines tender chicken wings with a sauce hotter than the Swedish Bikini Team's five-alarm chili recipe.
Simply Good Café's culinary technicians fix up traditional European fare for morning and midday diners with breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. During breakfast, a variety of homemade quiches silence stomachs before they peer-pressure mouths into shouting out their owners' credit card numbers, with robust flavors including salmon and tomato, roasted vegetable, and chicken ($6/slice). Spicy mustard adds zing to lettuce and tomato blanketed by roast beef and cheese inside a cozy sandwich ($6.50), and all handheld eats can be paired with a soup or side-salad buddy ($9.50) for plated activities including lettuce crocheting. Weekend brunchers dive into pillows of oatmeal pancakes, made with oats, whole wheat, yogurt and honey, or the strata dish, featuring baked bread, bacon, cheese, and egg. Inside Simply Good Café, yellow walls host black and white accents, and coffee pictures hang to entice java connoisseurs to lick the interior and figure out its flavor profile.