At Lake Country Lanes, stricken pins burst from the colorful background of a mural that spans the alley. Friends convene for play at traditional or bumper lanes lined with well-polished wood, and an automatic scoring system prevents opponents from clandestinely changing scores of 3 to 8 or 8 to infinity. Nearby, pool tables and video games foster competition off the lanes, and a bar with high-definition TVs and a dance floor spikes family fun with some adult recreation.
Dairy mavens at Zero Degrees Ice Cream handcraft more than 40 ice-cream flavors daily, and then pepper their creamy depths with fresh chunks of fruit and chocolate morsels. Scoops splash across homemade waffle cones, and cakes and cupcakes beat out ice sculptures of The Thinker as eye-nabbing frozen centerpieces.
The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders opened the eatery's first location in 1995 in Cary, North Carolina. They wanted to create a restaurant that incorporated an onsite bakery into its design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, housemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. It was a concept that proved successful, and now Rudino's has locations all across the country.
In these kitchens, cooks coat crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, and then layer on any number of ingredients—including fresh basil, jalapeños, and bacon. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables, which are never frozen, canned, or taken from a neighbor's crisper.
Because cravings don’t often wait for convenience, the cooks at Texas Steak Out take care of the leg work: They deliver their all-American breakfast, lunch, and dinner to diners’ front doors. Relieving patrons of the task of hunting a steer, they grill rib eyes, sirloins, and steak tips, complemented by philly cheesesteaks and a horde of hoagie sandwiches. Their hearty meals come with classic steak-house sides such as steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. For breakfast, diners can feast on egg and cheese hoagies and breakfast rolls, or opt for a heavier Texan breakfast of sirloin steak or pork chops with eggs and hash browns.
Behind the stone arches of a Spanish colonial-style building, Hemingway Restaurant & Bar's artfully exposed ductwork, stark right angles, and halo of flat-screen TVs belie the homespun quality of its regional Texan fare. Servers burden the heavily lacquered wood tables with hearty platters of 14-ounce steaks, fresh local fish, stuffed poblano peppers, and burgers topped with surprising flourishes, including roquefort cheese, olive tapenade, or applewood-smoked bacon. A full bar serves wines, premium cocktails, and craft beer such as Austin Amber and Buckethead IPA on draft. Outside, guests can dine alfresco alongside their dogs or diners dressed as their dogs.