Big Fish Bar & Grille's owner lures diners with seafood specialties made from fresh fish, which fill the lunch menu and dinner menu. Begin comestible voyages by knocking back an order of oysters Rockefeller ($14) while basking in the waterfront restaurant's vistas. A golden crab cake, cloaked in seasoned breadcrumbs like a baker playing hide and seek, rests on the Crabby Patty sandwich with Old Bay–sprinkled fries ($11). The Louisiana mac 'n' cheese, a pool of rigatoni noodles swimming amongst waves of a four-cheese sauce, buoys Cajun chicken and andouille sausage ($13). Big Fish wraps up the docket of edibles with a variety of jambalayas, steaks, and chops.
The grill gurus at Charleyhorse Restaurant sizzle a menu of sandwiches, entrees, and burgers within sports-centric dining digs. Wax handlebar mustaches over plates of Rollie cheese fingers carved from 40-pound blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese before they’re served with a side of marinara sauce ($9). Buffalo shrimp wraps brim with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, and cheddar jack cheese ($9.87), and burgers such as the Smarty Jones, piled high with bacon, cheddar cheese, and fried egg ($9.69), can power patrons through a marathon session of viewing marathon blooper videos. Large appetites may sample entrees such as the pot roast with beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions ($11.95), or nosh on Charleyhorse's malty basket of Carlton fish ‘n’ chips ($10.37).
At TomKelly's Chophouse and Pub, an emblazoned cloverleaf over the door may grant Irish luck to all who enter, but it’s the menu of Irish-inspired pub fare that leaves eyes (and stomachs) smiling. Emerald Isle dishes of corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie join American counterparts including pizzas bedecked with buffalo chicken and po boys topped with prime rib, grilled onions, and mozzarella cheese.
While devouring Irish eats, guests can take in sporting events from 14 plasma TVs or tap their forks to the rhythms of live DJs, who tend to put on better parties than dead DJs.
Post Game Pub & Sedona Grille's upbeat crew slings hearty sandwiches, piping pizzas, and zesty wings from an extensive menu selection. Prevent bellies from roaring at children by savoring a Sedona-stuffed burger, a half-pound patty packed with onions, jalapeños and bacon, and coated with barbecue sauce ($8.95). Specialty pub wings don their breading, dive into in a deep fryer, sear on the grill, and sidle onto plates wearing a bold slathering of honey mustard, barbecue, or hot sauce ($6.95 for eight; $9.95 for 12). Diners can stage their own extreme Wheel of Fortune tournament by spinning a 12-inch pub pizza ($8.50+) and then demanding a trip to Barbados.
As summer months wind down and autumn weather creeps in, Odyssey Fun Farm comes alive—and as it's only open from late September to late October, the farm definitely makes the most of its time. A pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, hay rides, and other fall festivities help families start new seasonal traditions as they enjoy the cooler weather. Visitors can also test their senses of direction in the massive corn maze, which stretches over 15 acres and sends participants through hairpin turns and winding roundabouts in a design that spells the farm's name when viewed from an airplane or the shoulders of a very tall person.
Despite the many leisurely activities, there's plenty of adrenaline to be had—corn cannons send bursts of maize hurtling toward faraway targets, pig races pit swine such as Arnold Schwartzenhogger and David Letterham against each other in a dash to the finish, and ziplines let visitors feel the wind in their hair as they speed high above the ground. At sundown on October weekends, Odyssey Fun Farm turns spooky for its Zombie Safari Hayrides. Those who dare climb into a wagon equipped with 20 paintball turrets, which they'll use to slay every zombie that attacks during the pitch-black journey down a winding farm road.
Chicago Street Pub's entrée artisans craft a menu of traditional Irish dishes and hearty pub fare flanked by a cascade of ten constant draughts and assorted Irish whiskeys. Start by tongue-diving for deep fried lobster bites ($7.25) then tooth trek to European shorelines with the Irish surf 'n' turf— a platter of two pieces of beer battered cod accompanied by three irish-sausage links ($8.50). The Rugger burger bombards meat-seeking mouths with two juicy beef disks under irish bacon, portobellos, an onion ring, and a quartet of cheeses ($9.95) and garden-garnished options, such as the provolone-packed portobello sandwich, pacify herbivores and newly vegan pet rocks ($7.25).
Voted Chicagoland's best pizza by 670 The Score and awarded as the 2011 winner for best beer garden by the Southland Star, Durbin’s rewards watering mouths with a roster of gratifying pub fare, a full bar, and an idyllic outdoor beer garden at every location. Durbin's menus vary slightly between locations, united by an emphasis on meaty sandwiches, comforting fried nosh, pizza, and trademarked ribs. Prime appetites with a Durbin’s Combo—mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, potato skins, and onion rings ($8.50)—or the Kelly Special's mozzarella-topped butterflied filet mignon on toasted garlic bread ($10.95). Durbin's slow-smokes its signature Branding Iron ribs over an open pit of smoldering hickory wood, basting them with secret-recipe barbecue sauce and whispering sweet, flaming nothings to them to tenderize the meat ($11.95 for a half slab, $18.95 for a full slab). The 14-inch stuffed sausage pizza’s layers of meat and cheese are trapped between its saucy crust, forming a delicate closed ecosystem of Italian flavor ($17.95).