The Bank Restaurant, which was founded in 2007, draws ingredients from local farms including Elliot and Sons Bison, Catalpa Grove Lamb, and Piper City's T&J Free Range Poultry. The new menu is filled with specialties ranging from center-cut pork chops to thick burgers bracketed by soft brioche buns. Steaks arrive unadorned or tenderly rubbed with the restaurant's precise blend of spices, and seafood including Hawaiian style arctic char and "as seen on TV" seared scallops play well with their respective glazes and dipping sauces.
While the kitchen fills with culinary innovation that earned the restaurant the 2012 and 2013 Gamon Award for Restaurant of the Year, the dining room and surroundings exude vibes of timeless history. Built in 1875 to house the Gary Wheaton Bank, the building counts among its roster of notable visitors people such as football great Red Grange, journalism tycoon Colonel Robert R. McCormick, and the pink hippo from Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
Classic American comfort food and a warm atmosphere have awaited visitors to the family-friendly John's Restaurant and Tavern since its inception in 1921. Inside, a mouthwatering array of dishes decorates the menu. Juicy burgers and barbecue, savory salads and sandwiches, and entrees such as steak and duck ensure no appetite leaves unchecked. There's seating at the bar, in the dining room, and on the patio outside, where al fresco diners can dip their sweet potato fries into ketchup ramekins floating by via mini-hot air balloon.
Owned by the Irish-pub experts behind The Kerry Piper and Tommy Nevin's, Muldoon's flaunts a deep-rooted pub pedigree. It doesn't need its restaurant brethren to prove that, though—the menu speaks for itself. Above the pub's weathered-wood floorboards that reflect the glow of stained-glass light fixtures, a parade of steaming plates brings forth such classics as shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, and Harp-beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips. There are more unusual flavors to taste, as well. Take Muldoon's signature burgers, for instance, which are made from half-pound Angus beef patties that chefs pile with blue cheese and fried onions, smother in guacamole and grilled mushrooms, or stuff with oozing morsels of cheddar cheese and jalapeños. Meanwhile, sirloin, new york strip, and prime rib steaks—each aged 21 days and char-grilled to order—show the pub's upscale side, while the full bar's bounty of imported and domestic beers settles bets between physicists on how many black holes a pint of Guinness contains.
Hawthorne's Backyard's culinary architects animate the American fare, such as burgers, ribs, and roasts, depicted on the menu. An appetizer of loaded chili cheese fries, which swim in green onions and sour cream ($5.99), can prep palates for an appointment with a hearty entree. Momma's pot-roast sandwich, a pulled-pork tenderloin cooked in homemade barbecue sauce and set inside a hoagie bun, frolics across taste-bud territory ($8.50), and the backyard double cheeseburger dually satiates meat and dairy yearnings ($10.50). A full slab of signature baby-back ribs comes to tables drenched in barbecue sauce and, like a subpoena from a grandmother, is served with cinnamon apples and sweet-potato fries ($18.99).