'Upscale' bowling alley offers tasty option

February 22, 2008 12:51:58 PM PST
Our Hungry Hound's theme this week is indoor entertainment with your meal, and he's found a fun option downtown for the whole family. He says bowling is the main attraction, but there's also billiards and a fairly attractive menu.

A lot of folks come downtown for the shopping. But there's some good bowling to be had as well. For a few years now, the people who run Harry Caray's have done a good job with Ten Pin, a loungey, laid-back room with good bowling, next to Marina Towers. And more recently, West Coast-based Lucky Strike has taken over a good chunk of the AMC theater building on Illinois Street, offering plenty of bowling, and food that rises above the usual pizza, fries and jalapeno poppers.

There really is no excuse to find something to do at the massive Lucky Strike Lanes in River East. The LA-based concept has taken up a huge chunk of space next to the AMC theater complex, featuring, among other things, a number of billiard tables and a sprawling bowling alley.

"Lucky Strike is an upscale bowling lounge," said Michelle Johnson, Lucky Strike Lanes. "It's a different concept; it's to go, have a good time, good food, and premium drinks, as well as bowl, play billiards, just really have a good time and also be able to do something."

Naturally, after all of that bowling, you're going to get a little hungry; it's not exactly gourmet, but it's also a few notches above standard bowling alley fare. Consider a light starter of smooth and creamy hummus, drizzled with a bit of herb oil and served with pita chips. What appears to be the beginning of a caprese salad -- some tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil -- quickly becomes tiny veggie "s'mores" sandwiched between toasted bread rounds.

A triple-decker club sandwich is hearty, loaded with lots of chicken, bacon, avocados, even a fried egg. And while you'd expect to find a big, two-fisted burger at a bowling alley, they have several options here, including one with a bit of blue cheese.

Even chicken gets the star treatment. They turn the classic buffalo wing idea upside down, frying perfect little rounds into what can only be described as adult McNuggets. It's a fine play on the old standards, making a tasty backdrop to what will ultimately be a fun night out.

"They put a different aspect on finger food. For example, tomato and cheese s'mores instead of caprese salads, so there are a lot of fun things," said Johnson.

And a brand new Lucky Strike is also open in Lombard, at the Yorktown Mall. both Locations accept reservations for lanes, which is a good idea on the weekends.

Lucky Strike Lanes
322 E. Illinois St.

100 Yorktown Mall, Lombard

also mentioned:

Ten Pin
330 N. State St.

Chicago Restaurant Week
Feb. 22 - 29
40 upscale restaurants serving three-course lunches for $21.95 and three-course dinners for $31.95.
To see a list of participating restaurants, go to: http://www.choosechicago.com/eatitup/Pages/default.aspx