Though flavorful Italian cuisine is at the core of Cogan's Pizza, taste buds aren’t the only sensory receptors that perk up when visiting the vibrant eatery. The interior provides a visual feast with huge chandeliers casting subtle twinkles across pressed-tin ceilings and walls covered with posters and music memorabilia. The music motif also engages ears and vocal cords with regular live performances and karaoke.
At the bar, more than 30 beers flow from a lineup of seasonally rotating taps, each carbonated with the perfect number of bubbles to wash down cheesy and meaty pies. For patrons who adhere to a more plant-based diet, the cooks can also top crusts with faux meats, soy cheese, or an evil aunt’s favorite orchid. Pasta dishes, hot sandwiches, and subs stacked with roasted chicken, italian sausage, or roast beef round out the menu.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and whimsical characters—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln workers help glaze, fire, and de-genie it for them, and they may retrieve the finished piece 4-6 days later.
An AT&T authorized retailer, The Wireless Experience is a mobile-phone shop stocked with name-brand phones such as LG, Motorola, and HTC, gadgets, and a slew of talk, text, and data plans. Accessorize modern soup cans with protective gear such as the iPhone 4 Gadget Guard screen protector ($24.99), which safeguards against dings and scratches, or the SanDisk 8GB micro SD memory kit ($49.99), which guarantees phones won’t forget acts of human kindness during the impending technology uprising. The Jabra Cruiser2 Bluetooth speaker ($99.99) connects phones to in-car speakers, enabling hands-free phone conversations for safe transport of technology and anthropoids. Thumbs race across smartphones, such as the LG Quantum ($49.99 with a two-year contract)—equipped with a 5.0 megapixel camera and mobile email compatible with Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, or Windows Live—and the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 ($29.99 with a two-year contract)—armed with WiFi support and a music player that syncs with iTunes.
Called “a gigantic, sprawling wonderland” and “an overflowing treasure chest of cheap fun” in the thrift-store guide book, Dirt Cheap, Real Good, Thrift Store USA stocks more than 24,000 square feet of secondhand clothes, furniture, and other goods that are ripe for the repicking. Outfit your lambs in a perpetually rotating array of vintage and used clothes, priced from $0.55 to $19.99. Manic media collectors can spend hours browsing the thousands of books, videos, and record albums of old vinyl pop classics and records for teaching cats how to meow in German ($0.55–$3.99). Brand-new Symbol and Corsicana mattresses ($79–$399) provide pleasant dream-cradles alongside antique, retro, and modern dining-room sets and bunk beds. Purchases at Thrift Store USA benefit Seton Youth Shelters, which provide shelter and counseling services to at-risk youth.
One of Hampton Roads' oldest family-owned florists, Turpin's has been tending to Virginians' flower needs since 1959. Whether you order online or in the store, Turpin's design staff, which has a combined 150 years of experience, guarantees their flowers will stay fresh and fragrant for seven days. Customize a bouquet for a special someone, or choose from one of the popular pre-arranged options, such as a dozen roses ($49.99) or a Basket of Cheer ($39.99), a vibrant collection of bright, be-petaled beauties in a range of pinks, purples, yellows, and whites. Though aromatic and gorgeous, flowers sometimes lack essential sugars and nougats, so Turpin's will include a box of chocolates with any order for an additional $10. A Mylar balloon ($3.95) adds buoyancy to gravity-ridden gardenias or height-fearing hyacinths. Opt for a fruit basket or a long-living houseplant for special occasions when flowers aren't appropriate, such as the anniversary of Grandma's first pollen attack.