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.
Grill Marx's menu is composed of dishes made with fresh ingredients, such as meats culled from Tischler's Market in Plainfield, and using filtered reverse-osmosis water. Appetizers include the hand-pattied Louisiana-style crab cakes, which are sweetly kissed with a cajun remoulade mayo ($9), and the BLT baked clams, which play peek-a-boo under a blanket of tomatoes, bacon, and herb cracker crumbs ($9). Noontime noshers can wrap mitts around a bevy of juicy burgers and sandwiches, such as the black eye, a double-layered rib eye topped with mozzarella on an egg bun ($9), or stab forks into Strawberry Fields Forever ($9), a baby spinach salad decorated with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, and lemon poppyseed dressing. Evening entrees include lemon chicken parmesan sidekicked with artichoke hearts and fresh spinach ($15), and an 8-ounce hand-cut filet mignon plated with sliced portabella mushrooms ($24). Grill Marx augments its atmosphere with seasonal beers on tap and the invisible rays of WiFi.
For nearly four decades, the Benedetto family has hand tossed, sauced, and sprinkled authentic Italian pies and pastas, creating a menu of traditional family recipes. Munch on crisp thin-crust pizza ($11.95 medium, $1.70 each additional topping) or gobble a doughy disk of Chicago-style deep dish ($13.25 medium, $1.70 each additional topping), both of which don dough that the Benedetto's staff makes fresh daily. Specialty pies ($16.75 medium) include piquant pesto, vegetarian, and meat classic—a mound of sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and salami securely sealed with melted mozzarella and an intricate system of alarms. Dizzy cutlery with a plate of spaghetti bathed in marinara or meat sauce ($6.95) or spurn silverware for a juicy Italian beef sandwich ($5.95) or a slab of barbecued ribs ($17.95).
Mario Dovalina and Edwin Ptak established the original Pepe's Mexican Restaurant in 1967 in order to satisfy diners craving authentic Mexican dishes. With more than 40 locations in the Chicagoland area and northwestern Indiana and traditional eats that are sold across the United States and even in Mexico, Pepe's appeases a wide audience with its hearty options. Appetizers such as chips and fresh guacamole made daily or chili con queso ready bellies for veggie burritos bursting with seasonal vegetables. Flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports games or ballerina-wrestling matches dot the spacious walls at many of the chain’s casual eateries, keeping diners in their seats long after their shrimp, pork, or vegetable fajitas are finished.
The cooks at Jody’s Hot Dogs dishes out their menu of casual American eats inside a charming ‘50s-style restaurant furnished with gumball machines and a white-and-red checkered floor. The open kitchen allows patrons to watch as cooks grill all-beef hot dogs and burgers, prepare homemade french fries, and roast gyro meat on a revolving spit instead of a jewelry box that constantly plays "Rock-A-Bye Baby". Along with the famous Chicago-style dogs served on poppy-seed buns, Jody's staff can whip up chili-cheese nachos, philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and shrimp dinners, all made to order.
Chefs at The Chunky Chicken fry up a menu of fresh chicken and seafood to pair with a sweeping selection of made-from-scratch sides. The eatery's signature chunks showcase 4 ounces of chicken breast marinated for 48 hours in special seasonings before they're breaded, serenaded, and sent to the deep fryer. Tender chunks come in combos of 2 ($4.95), 10 ($15.95), and 50 ($78.95), paired with buttery biscuits and classic sidekicks, such as mac 'n' cheese, sweet-corn fritters, or vice presidents. Fried chicken comes in mild and spicy varieties, and an eight-piece combo fills two bellies with duos of sides, biscuits, and drinks ($13.95; $9.95 for 8 pieces alone). Peckish Poseidons tame the foot-long Sea-Dog, a cod sandwich heaped with cheese and tartar sauce ($5.95; $7.95 for combo), and the Fisherman's platter reels in appetites with fried cod, walleye, and three jumbo shrimp ($8.95; $10.95 for combo). Creative eaters customize their feasts by plunging chunks and shrimps into cool dressings or hot sauces ranging in spiciness from "mild" to "suicidal" ($.40 for a bowl).
Truth Restaurant's gregarious, attentive servers shell out an ever-changing menu of eclectic American fare within a friendly, neighborhood eatery. Sink incisors into a selection of tasty starters, such as the lobster pizza smothered in a three-cheese blend ($10.50) and the fall pastries, featuring light dough pillows packed with grilled chicken and smoked ham over dijon sauce ($7). Chefs enlist local cowboys to corral a glut of carnivorous entrees, including the savory 14-ounce New York–strip steak ($25), a veggie-bolstered chunk of lamb chops ($22), and the restaurant's signature meatloaf served over creamy mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and grandma's cheek-pinching love ($14).