Today, Colonial Cafe & Ice Cream may have seven full-service family-friendly restaurants, but when it started in 1901, it was only a single small ice cream and dairy store. Now guests can settle into breakfast, lunch, and dinner at each of the eateries –and still enjoy the ice cream that put them on the map. They have garnered particular attention for their signature dish, the Kitchen Sink Sundae, which features two whole bananas, six scoops of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry), whipped cream, chocolate, and chopped almonds with a cherry topper. It’s served in a large dish shaped like a kitchen sink with a S-pipe as the handle. And when diners finish it, they receive a bumper sticker that reads, “I Ate a Colonial Kitchen Sink.”
While ice cream reigns supreme, their breakfasts have also earned praise. They were voted “Best Breakfast” by the Elgin Courier News, Aurora Beacon News, and Naperville Sun. Favorites among the regulars include the stuffed very berry French toast and cinnamon roll French toast. Come dinnertime, they continue serving comfort foods including fresh baked meatloaf and a mac and cheese bacon melt, as well as sandwiches such as the pot roast French dip. The restaurant has also earned plaudits for its popularity with its littlest diners, grabbing the "Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant" designation in the Kane County Chronicle Reader's Choice awards.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop?then called Pete's Subway?proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world?almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
When Hounds Blue Moon began serving up inventive pub fare in 2008, the menu included a modest selection of eight signature stuffed burgers. That list has since expanded to offer diners 26 varieties of burger, each bedecked with elaborate ingredient combinations such as avocado and jalapeno jack cheese, chili and cheese sauce, bacon and cheddar, or roasted jalapeños and pico de gallo. During dinner hours, palates can further expand with Italian dinner specialties such as the chicken vesuvio roasted with potato wedges and peas. And on Sundays, staffers at a brunch buffet customize comfort fare by sizzling made-to order omelets and carving off slices of meat in the shape of each patron's favorite Aleutian Island.
The menu at Mother’s Pancake House can sate breakfast cravings both sweet and savory. Plates such as the homemade banana-bread french toast and the banana split pancakes—topped with strawberries, bananas, and, of course, ice cream—awaken diners with an early-morning sugar rush. Meanwhile, chefs bake veggies, cheese, and breakfast meats such as ham, bacon, and sausage into hearty omelets. As time ticks into the afternoon, the staff begins serving sandwiches, burgers, pastas, and country-fried steaks.
Every month, Sweet Tomatoes rolls out a new roster of fresh-made eats—including many vegetarian and gluten-free selections—in its wholesome buffet. Simmering soups bubble with vegetables and savory chicken, alongside tossed salads tumbling with crisp produce, much like an Ent in a washing machine. On Sunday mornings, plates fill with comforting breakfast classics such as belgian waffles and scrambled eggs.
Basils Greek Dining mixes Old World tradition with contemporary culinary techniques to satisfy diners yearning for Mediterranean flavors and Greek comfort food. Named after the royal herb of Greece, Basils bestows an aromatic blend of herbs and spices on each of the menu’s entrees, starting with the spanakopita, with fresh spinach, basil, and piquant feta cheese stuffed inside baked phyllo pastry dough ($12–$14). The chicken lemonati excites flavor buds with a mixture of sautéed chicken breast, fresh mushrooms, artichokes, and pasta ($14–$16). Loquacious lamb lovers are allowed to simultaneously eat and talk with the Colorado roast lamb, oven-roasted meat garnished with garlic, oregano, and olive oil ($16–$18). Those tired of French, Italian, and Sub-Antarctic wine can sip the Greek’s take on vino, as Basils' list brims with dozens of options, from the silky Tsantalis Makedonikos red ($7 per glass) to the floral-noted Skouras Moschofilero white ($6 per glass).