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.
Using fresh ingredients, chef Mario Arevalo scratch-crafts a menu of Italian-American fare with Spanish and Mediterranean influences. Quickly quiet talkative tummies with a black-olive tapenade, kalamata olives puréed with garlic, fresh herbs, imported cheeses, and extra-virgin olive oil, and served with herb crostini ($3.25). The pasta aglio olio—angel-hair pasta tossed with sautéed garlic, herbs, spicy red-pepper flakes, white wine, and butter—is cooked al dente and doubles as dental floss ($7.50). The herb-breaded Sicilian pork sandwich warms finger docks and bellies with a cloak of marinara sauce and baked cheeses ($8.75), and the pollo vesuvio keeps forks fit with a plated obstacle course featuring a pan-seared chicken-breast mountain, a shallow pool of garlic-and-white-wine sauce, green peas for juggling, and fried potato wedges for balancing on the nose ($11.25).
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
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.
A new take on the old salad bar, Diced Fresh’s produce cornucopia allows customers to create their own salads from more than 50 fresh toppings and 22 regular, low-fat, and fat-free dressings. Customers outline every detail of their salad on the streamlined order sheets, ticking off a host of fixings, such as feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken, or signifying everything they don’t want with crudely drawn frowny faces. The behind-the-counter staff takes over from there to swiftly assemble the completely customized meal, optionally pairing it with a bowl of lobster bisque or nonfat vegetable chili. Indecisive eaters can simplify the decision-making process by ordering one of 18 predesigned salads, such as turkey cobb or fajita chicken, which can alternatively be turned into a wrap.