Repeat winner of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association?s Blue-Ribbon award, Maggie Moo?s combines fresh ingredients and mix-ins to create uncommon frozen desserts. The evolving array of iced treats includes such options as strawberry-bubblegum ice cream, pink grapefruit sorbet, and chocolate-fudge low-fat yogurt. Dozens of mix-ins upgrade the texture and decadence of ice-cream cones and come standard in such delicacies as frozen cakes, cupcakes, or pizzas. Though dessert pizzas resemble their baked brethren, Maggie Moo?s substitutes marinara for red icing, adds white-chocolate curls in lieu of cheese, and swaps the delivery boy for the neighborhood Wookiee.
Jagmohan Jayara’s dream of sharing his Indian culture with others through cuisine became a reality when he opened up the first India House in 1993. Since then, the restaurant has grown a following that demanded three more locations. Each one brings Chicago-area locals the spices, herbs, and vegetarian-friendly dishes that characterize Indian cuisine. The menus include lamb kebabs, tandoori chicken, or whole chickpeas cooked in traditional Punjabi masala. The chain offers dining, takeout, and a buffet alongside banquet and catering options for special celebrations including weddings, birthdays, and first cricket victories.
The neon lights and bright colors at Grande Jake’s Authentic Mexican Grill’s three Chicago-area hubs hint at the menu’s dedication to spicy eats. Chefs scoop grilled steak, chorizo, and chicken into burritos, then douse them in melted chihuahua cheese and salsa ranchera. Homemade tamales burst with pork or chicken, and the pollo asada al carbon tops a 12-ounce char-grilled chicken breast with mole or green sauce. Refried beans, spanish rice, and chips serve as supporting actors to entrees, and the creamy Mexican-style custard in flan finishes dinners more sweetly than a dinner mint delivered by a troupe of newborn kittens.
Forks twirl through build-your-own pastas in a wide array of sauces and toppings, which lead Pastabilities' menu of Italian fare. Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, chicken, and beef steep in warm lakes of marinara, regaling nostrils with tales of sun-soaked tomato fields and scarecrows' first steps. A full line of retail sauces and pastas crafted in-house for shipment to doorsteps begs to fill steaming pots in home kitchens, and catering trays parade pasta and panini for up to six people or three sets of Hall & Oates impersonators.
Chefs at Bait Cafe marinate and grill entrées such as chicken shawarma and New Zealand lamb chops to create light, fresh Mediterranean meals. They also blend fresh bowls of hummus to pair with soft pita bread, and stack chicken kebabs on plates with falafel and couscous. On the red walls of the dining area, golden scrollwork unfurls in swirling shapes that mimic the steam rising from cups of strong Turkish coffee and the honey-coated flowers that sprout when you plant pieces of baklava in your garden.
Scrambled Cafe's owners, Nancy and George Diamandopoulos, take part in every aspect of their breakfast and lunch eatery. "Nancy greets customers and helps wait tables,” a Buffalo Grove Patch article reveals, “while George is often apron-clad, lending a hand in the kitchen, in between visits to the seating area." Any time of the day, diners can sink their teeth into homemade crepes and old-fashioned pancakes topped with fresh fruit. Grilled-cheese sandwiches, burgers, and strawberry spinach salads are served in the afternoon. And even though American breakfast cuisine is the main focus of the menu, the Diamandopouloses add a touch of their Greek heritage to a handful of meals—an omelet topped with feta cheese, for example, and a greek salad crowned with a laurel wreath taken from Apollo's closet.