Pinstripes opened a location in Chicago this summer and my husband and I got a chance to experience it a couple weeks back. The Chicago location is in the beautiful River East building, which is right on the Chicago River. The views are fantastic and there are even fire pits outside with complimentary blankets to snuggle up to that special someone, while enjoying a few cocktails and appetizers by the fire.
The star of the show is the fact that you can order upscale food (not your typical cruddy bowling alley food), craft beer, wine and cocktails right at your lane! Or, you can do what we did, and eat at the restaurant prior to bowling or bocce ball and get dessert at your lane. Either way, it’s a lot of fun and the food is quite tasty. The ambiance of the Italian-American restaurant is warm and cozy, reminiscent of a ski lodge with wood beams, low lighting, large windows and a wine cellar to boot.
When in-laws are in town
For a nice dinner out
To hang by the fire with your honey
Girl’s or Guy’s night out
Pinstripes offers Italian-American fusion cuisine and I opted for just that. An American veggie burger with an Italian inspired salad. The veggie burger is house-made and contains eggs, so it is not vegan. The bun is not vegan either, however there are different salads, a few pastas and sides that a vegan could order to make a full meal (and don’t forget the wine!). If you are okay with eggs every once in a while, the veggie burger was fantastic. Our server was very accommodating to special diets. I added avocado to my veggie burger, got the sauce on the side and loved every bite. The salad could have been a meal by itself and was very tasty. My husband (who eats meat) had the Prime Rib sandwich; which he said was just okay due to the fact that it was cooked well done. However, he loved the huge pretzel bun it was served on and we both loved the shoestring fries. Shortly after we were seated, we were greeted with warm bread and a house-made pesto & olive oil dipping sauce. Any place with complimentary fresh warm bread and olive oil is a winner in my book. It’s not only hospitable to offer guests this amenity, but it also draws people in for more. Seriously. There are times when we are deciding between two restaurants to eat at and the one that has warm bread wins out every time.
I love wine- especially full-bodied red wine and heavier Pinot Noir. When the wine by the glass list is well thought out, that makes me a happy girl. This way, I can get whatever my little heart desires. The wine list by the glass is not only extensive, but has a great selection of really good wine from the US and Italy. One of my favorite Pinot Noirs is Meomi. It’s from the Sonoma Coast in California and is about $20 a bottle retail. Pinstripes has Meomi by the glass – try it for yourself. It goes down easy and is great with a variety of foods.
Bowling (or Bocce ball) is a great way to spend and afternoon with a group of friends or even for a child’s birthday party. While we were there, we opted to bowl and saw a group of children and parents celebrating a special occasion. The children were happier than clams and the parents sipped on their favorite adult beverage and indulged in an assortment of appetizers – and we’re not talking about bowling alley popcorn and soda pop.
Aside from Pinstripes being slightly difficult for us to get to from our neighborhood and a bit more expensive than a traditional bowling alley, I’d go back. The food was delicious, the service was fantastic and the wine was tasty. My husband had such a great time that he suggested Pinstripes in Chicago for their corporate holiday party this week and they are going. I’m not jealous at all………..
For more information or to book a party or reservation at their restaurant or for a lane, please visit their site.
*I was invited to try Pinstripes complimentary in exchange for a review on this site. All opinions are genuine and are mine. I would never mislead anyone that reads this blog!