Upscale, kid-friendly food and fun at Pinstripes

When I think of refreshment offerings at bowling alleys, I conjure up images of stale nachos and cheap bottled beer. But Pinstripes, with its motto of “bowling, bocce, bistro,” defies that stereotype with an upscale menu worthy of a visit even if you don’t want to partake in game-playing.

With locations in Oak Brook, Northbrook and South Barrington, Pinstripes has a robust selection of wine and beer and a menu with entrees such as maple glazed salmon and filet mignon. This gaming mecca also offers gluten-free pastas, pizzas, beers and desserts like the Frangelico chocolate cake and the Limoncello crème brulee.

Of course there is more casual fare such as a divine roast turkey cobb salad and a must-try prime rib dip sandwich with beef piled high and served on a pretzel roll with provolone cheese and horseradish cream. The children’s menu includes classics like peanut butter and jelly, a cheese Panini, chicken strips and mini hamburgers.

The expansive 40,000-square-foot interior and year-round outdoor patio with fire pits make it a popular venue for private events for all occasions and ages. The day we visited there were several events including a 4-year-old’s birthday party, a family reunion, a bar mitzvah and a bridal shower. Despite the various soirees, the venue didn’t seem at all crowded or noisy, and we enjoyed a peaceful lunch (well, as peaceful as a meal can be with two 4-year-olds) and then headed off to try bowling and bocce, a first for our twins.

Tweens and teens will especially love Pinstripes as it has a “grown-up” atmosphere yet is loads of fun for kids.

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