When customers walk into John's Rib House, the aroma alone tells them the kitchen is doing justice to barbecue. All ribs and rib tips are smoked with real hickory wood in a Southern Pride smoker for three hours, and the pulled pork stays in the smoker for 13 hours. In addition to barbecue chicken wings, Southern-style catfish, and shrimp dinners, the team piles buns with everything from Maxwell Street polish sausages to half-pound Angus burgers. For dessert, diners can order up slices of sweet-potato pie or peach cobbler to devour in the eatery's casual dining room, or carry out a whole sweet-potato pie to share with their family or a very hungry caterpillar.
Like metaphorical moths to the literal flame, lines of hungry patrons regularly swarm The Pit Rib House to taste the fruits of their wood-burning pit’s labor. The blistering chamber slow cooks beef, chicken, and whole racks of baby back ribs until they can barely cling to the bone. Alongside these smoky morsels, the cooks also stuff Greek sausages in-house and use the family's secret recipe to create piping-hot cups of chili. Echoing the menu's iconic American roots, The Pit Rib House's practically overflows with nostalgia-inducing pieces of Americana. Road signs, a vintage gas pump, and a life-sized model of Marilyn Monroe add fitting accents to walls lined with framed photographs of historic sports stars and political figures, along with decades-old advertisements for the Internet.
In 1996, brothers Mario and Tom Soto capitalized on their passion for barbecue by opening Gemato's Wood Pit BBQ, a welcoming family restaurant that specializes in fall-off-the-bone ribs, tender beef brisket, and charbroiled burgers. Chefs split logs in the restaurant's backyard to fuel grills that burn all day long, infusing each meaty morsel with smoky flavor. Guests chow down morsels of barbecue pork and chicken with traditional fixings, or sup on Greek- and Italian-American sandwich shop classics such as gyros or Italian beef. Meanwhile, Western-themed décor accents each hearty meal with with rodeo posters, wooden wagon wheels, and stuffed handlebar mustaches caught in the wild.
In business for 25 years and renowned for its slow-cooked barbecue ribs, the family-owned Nick's Barbecue maintains a culinary stable of more than 100 equally tempting items on its menu. Fall-off-the-bone barbecue baby back ribs cover fingers in a sweet signature sauce, dinner’s perfect complement to stylish sauce-colored outfits ($10.99). The barbecue pulled pork ($7.59) and half-chicken dinner ($7.45) team up tender white meats with three down-home sides, including mac ‘n’ cheese, potato wedges, barbecue baked beans, or mixed veggies. Two items that are as authentically Chicago as a silver bean riding the L train—the italian beef sandwich ($4.69) and the vienna all-beef hot dog ($2.15)—do their city proud as they tame the windiest of appetites.
Sculpted around many lakes, The Village Links of Glen Ellyn's 18-hole championship course and 9-hole course fill 170 acres with a verdant landscape of challenging golf. Originally built in 1967 and renovated in 2004, the championship course has played host to 40 USGA and PGA Tour qualifying tournaments, including those for the 2012 U.S. Open and 2008 U.S. Amateur.
Sixteen waterways meander through the grounds, directly entering play on all but three holes, where they enter play indirectly by threatening to take down golf shots with troupes of flying fish. On the par 4 10th hole, players must hit a difficult tee shot onto an S-shaped fairway that weaves between two large lakes. The 18th hole, also a par 4, features a treasure trove of sunken golf balls and golf carts lurking in three lakes that surround the fairway and in one that lies right in the middle. Once safely on the greens, players putt over fast A-4 bentgrass surfaces, a key addition from the 2004 renovation.
18-Hole Course at a Glance: * Par 72 * Total length of 7,208 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.9 from the back tees * Course slope of 138 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
9-Hole Course at a Glance: * Par 36 * Total length of 3,303 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 35.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 129 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
At Ellyn's, patrons nosh American sandwiches, salads, and entrees while scoping 14 HD TVs and sipping frosty draughts. Throat-lubricating libations include 12 taps, dozens of bottles, and cocktails and martinis as one-of-a-kind as a baby wearing a snowflake costume. Tummy caves will be spelunked by a pioneering dip of spinach, artichoke, and fire-roasted red pepper armed with crispy tortilla chip excavators ($6.99). Ellyn's USDA-choice flat iron steak is infused with chipotle, while its chicken is marinated in cilantro and walnut pesto and char-grilled to maw-taunting specifications ($12.99).