Owners Connie and John Tyrrell channeled their love of Mexican culture into Burrito Grande, a hub of Mexican flavors woven from seasonings and sauces mostly prepared in-house. House specialties fill warm tortilla pillows with fresh tilapia, shrimp, or pork embellished with diverse ingredients such as mango salsa and pineapple. Tacos and fajitas fill up on proteins such as chorizo sausage and juicy steak, and build-your-own burritos make for artfully stuffed meals without the papery aftertaste of piñatas.
Papa Saverio's bill of fare has awakened appetites with cheesy, sauce-draped Italian fare alongside familiar American eats since 1998. Now with more than 20 locations, the menu reflects years of fine-tuning. A rotating deck oven evenly fires five types of fresh, hand-tossed and hand-braided pizzas crust, and their signature cheese is hand-mixed as it matures, giving it a rich consistency that melts over pastas and subs. Bone-in finger foods lean on savory condiments such as barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, whereas many of the meaty sandwiches are built to need little to fortify their flavor beyond their giardiniera flying buttresses.
When a restaurant makes eight different kinds of French toast, you know they take breakfast seriously. Such is the case at Brunch Café, a local, family-run chain that serves up breakfast and lunch every day. Pancakes share the menu with European crepes and egg and sausage breakfast sliders—which put a daytime spin on a late night snack. Lunch fare includes paninis, wraps, and burgers, along with classic cobb and chopped salads. Mimosas and bloody marys are perfect for sipping alongside these meals or for toasting the invention of the waffle iron.
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.
Al Capone regularly feeds the customers at Algonquin Sub Shop. The sub named after the famous gangster is the staff's most popular creation, stacked with capicola, salami, pepperoni, mortadella, provolone cheese, and olives. It's one of many meaty offerings on a menu of more than 20 signature sandwiches, whose fillings are bookended by freshly baked and toasted Italian bread. The Smoke Stack slathers smoked turkey, ham, and imported gouda with spicy Russian mustard, whereas Mom's BBQ Beef spotlights roast beef dressed in a secret barbecue sauce and an extra sweater, just in case. Vegetarians have multiple options to choose from, such as the Where's Waldorf: imported brie, sweet peppers, apples, walnuts, and spinach. Guests can even nix the bread entirely and request that their sub be prepared as gourmet salad, yielding a lighter lunch and plenty of room for one of the family-owned shop's one-pound cakes and brownies.
Stand facing one way in the parking lot of Niko’s Lodge and you’re in suburban Algonquin; turn the other way, and you’re in a mountain resort town. As diners pass under immense dark wood beams, they encounter a handsome pinewood bar, a roaring fireplace flanked by comfy furniture, and, drifting through it all, the fragrance of steak, rotisserie chicken, and pork ribs. Flavors tend toward hearty American favorites: barbecue, meatloaf, and decadent combinations such as a chicken-and-bacon mac and cheese, to name a few. Much of the fish is supplied by nearby rivers and lakes, and all the beef comes from upper-Midwestern Braveheart Black Angus cattle. If guests have saved some belly space, they can step outside to the fire pits to toast complimentary s’mores and destroy napkins on which they wrote embarrassing sonnets to pot roast.