By Gina O’Neill
Executive Opinion Editor
In preparation for any dance, it’s imperative to pick out a dress that will dazzle, a group of friends that equals fun and shoes that are stylin’ (comfort doesn’t need to be taken into account due to the velocity at which everyones’ shoes fly off as they walk in the door) .
Before choosing a restaurant, it’s a good idea to make a reservation with the restaurant beforehand. Actually, it’s more than a good idea; it’s nearly necessary. If 15 high school kids march into Olive Garden without a reservation on a Saturday night, those kids will be left with disappointment, gurgling stomachs and an hour long wait — if they’re willing.
Not only are most high school kids too hungry and impatient to wait during the lunch line, but that could mess up the whole schedule and make the group late for the dance, proving to be a worse “situation” than that on the Jersey Shore.
However, you can only make a reservation with Olive Garden the day of the dance, so it’s a good idea to call that morning.
With that being said, while there are many different restaurants available that are prepared to serve groups of loud, carefree teenagers, Italian restaurants definately assume a dominance over the other types.
“Pasta is easy to eat,” freshman Baylee Porter said. “It’s filling, but you’re not too full. It’s perfect.”
Though most students’ idea of Italian food is Olive Garden *wince*, Italian restaurants easily score the title for most popular places for teens to eat before they work their feet.
Sophomore Allie Likes suggests Olive Garden as a restaurant venue due to its good food and close proximity to the school.
Seniors Claire Kozak and Priya Shah like Olive Garden because it’s not too expensive, with a dish costing $10 at the least but no more than $20, and the plates are so big that you can split them with a friend. They also recommend the breadsticks.
“You don’t want something that has garlic, though,” Shah warned.
Other entrees people enjoy are the zitti — a type of pasta with long tube noodles, and the fettucine alfredo. Sophomore Danny Frasco did feel, however, that Olive Garden was pretty expensive including drinks.
Whether the Olive Garden phenomenon is justified or not, it has the capacity to seat and satisfy a group of teenagers.
Some authentic Italian restaurants close by are Little Villa, Giacomo’s and my personal favorite, Joe & Giuseppe. The price ranges are all similar to Olive Garden’s, but the food is more delicious. They provide the same options as Olive Garden and more, with soup, salad, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, chicken, other meat dishes and seafood all on the menu.
However, Joe and Giuseppe’s is smaller, so with a group of more than 15, it’s more than important to make a reservation.
Addresses: Olive Garden: 630 E Rand Rd. Arlington Heights, IL 60004. Tel. (847) 818-8821
Joe & Giuseppe: 925 S Arthur Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60005 Tel. (847) 259-6448
Giacomo’s Ristorante Italiano: 740 N Wolf Rd. Des Plaines, IL 60016. Tel. (847) 390-7330
Little Villa Pizza: 660 N Wolf Rd. Des Plaines, IL 60016. Tel (847) 296-7763
California Pizza Kitchen is another option for pizza, salads, sandwiches, pasta and even tacos and mac n’ Cheese — making it a true melting pot.
Porter likes California Pizza Kitchen not only because the “waiters are so hot,” but because the “food is amazing,” too. Her favorite item is the mac n’ cheese because it’s “creamy and delicate — it just melts in your mouth.”
Freshman Dominika Opoka recommends the Hawaiian style pizza because it’s shareable, and pizza is CPK’s specialty. However, due to the likeliness of spilling on yourself, Porter disagrees.
“Pizza before a dance is nasty,” Porter said. “It’s messy, and you dress up — [you should] eat something elegant.”
Another place that offers pizza, salad, meat entrees and the “legendary name-your-own-meat” sandwich is Bogies Ale House — a venue sophomore Danielle Siwik would enjoy going to before the dance. She would order the pizza or “any food.”
“But [you have to be] careful not to spill,” Siwik cautioned.
Both Bogies and California Pizza Kitchen sum up to be about $15 per person including drinks, which Siwik says is “definately not as expensive as Olive Garden.”
Addresses: California Pizza Kitchen: Arlington Town Square, 3 S Evergreen. Arlington Heights, IL 60005. Tel. (847) 590-0801
Bogies Ale House: 303 E Kensington Rd. Mt. Prospect, IL 60005. Tel. (847) 670-0330
Another more unorthodox choice of cuisine is Thai food, as juniors Kimmy Marshall and Anna Hallman recommend. There are several locations around the area that serve Thai food, such as Gumrai Thai, AltThai and Bangkok Cafe.
Hallman orders Pad Thai — which includes a choice of meat (if preferred), thin noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, onions, egg, cabbage, lime and crushed peanuts. There’s also a spicier Pad Thai option available that adds bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, wild rice noodles and bamboo shoots.
According to Hallman, each location offers good food. While she likes AltThai, she feels that it’s not good for a big group, like people would have before a dance.
“It feels like you’re in a library; like a zen garden,” Hallman said. “It’s quiet.”
Although both agree Gumrai Thai is bigger, Marshall doesn’t enjoy it as much as the other places. Her favorite dish is Panang Curry — a spicy sauce made out of basil and kaffir leaves and bell peppers, served with jasmin rice and the choice of chicken, tofu, vegetables, beef or shrimp.
The cost per person totals out to be $10-15, yet the dishes have a good amount of food, so they can be shared.
Addresses: AltThai: 40 S Arlington Heights Rd. Arlington Heights, IL 60005. Tel. (847) 797-8442
Gumrai Thai: 170 N Arlington Heights Rd. Arlington Heights, IL 60004 Tel. (847) 590-1000
Bangkok Cafe: 17 N Vail Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60005. Tel (847) 398-1989
Whether people are feeling Asian, Italian, American, Mexican or Arabian food, the idea of a dance is to have fun, so when choosing food, it should be enjoyable for all of the people in the group.
And, if a reservation falls through or no one is feeling fancy, there’s always the option that will never disappoint.
“Chipotle! It’s delicious,” Hallman said.
For more information on this year’s Winter Ball, click here.