Established in 1990, the bar and grill formerly known as Pete's Pizza took on its new nommé de cuisine in 2008 after extending the menu to encompass burgers, sandwiches, pasta, and Greek fare from chefs Spiro Theodoropoulos and John Patouhas. The hugely varied pub fare weighs down tables in the expansive, relaxed dining room. In the adjoining bar, raucous games of darts, pool, and sudoku wait to break out. During warmer weather, diners take in fresh air on the stone patio that also provides the ideal amount of give for toe-tapping to the sporadically scheduled live music.
When former fast-food execs Ed Rensi and Tom Dentice decided to open their own casual restaurant, they knew they'd have to do some research. In the years since they'd started in the business, the burgeoning foodie culture had transformed this beefy staple into a gourmet food. Honoring the dish's roots in American roadside diners, the duo decided to take a road trip, visiting about 100 restaurants across the country to study what made a gourmet burger.
What they found was a lot of hype and inconsistent execution, starting with inadequate equipment. For instance, the average commercial griddle has hot spots and cold spots that can be 30 degrees different. "You can't get a consistent cook … if you got that much range in temperature on the grill," Ed said. He also saw inconsistencies with ingredient quality: toppings can't save a burger, no matter how good, if a restaurant uses beef from spent dairy cattle. Likewise, good beef loses impact when dressed in drab toppings such as iceberg lettuce.
Once Ed realized what the gourmet burger needed—consistent process and quality across every ingredient—he and Tom went to work. They found an AccuTemp grill that uses steam pressure to uniformly heat the surface. They sourced Midwestern-raised Angus beef ground from chuck with the shoulder clod still intact. And they filled the 20-item condiment station—dubbed the "Tower of Taste"—with all-natural fixings such as three types of organic Heinz ketchup and mustards from Mustard Girl, a company started by a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.
With a surefire process in place, Tom and Ed began extending their menu to other sandwich fillings, such as fresh chicken breasts, sushi-grade ahi tuna, and edamame burger patties. Sides also benefit from the duo's attention to detail. Hand-dipped ice cream and fresh strawberries swirl into strawberry shakes, which are served with extrawide straws that make it easier to sip when the drink is at its coldest. And at the drink station, fountains pour Boylan sodas sweetened with cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup.
Cellar Gate is a unique, one of a kind "wine bistro" with a European flaire. Small, eclectic seating areas offer private space to enjoy delicious wines and appetizers. A glowing fireplace in the parlor is a favorite destination, as is the private courtyard in the summer & early fall. Casual and comfortable is our goal!
The redolent aromas of a medley of unique culinary syntheses permeate the cleverly mismatched furnishings of Vibe's lively lounge. After perusing the menu, ease into an evening as smooth and enjoyable as a hang-glide session with Fabio by romping through the tilapia ceviche, a piquant citric noshable served with tortilla chips ($9.50). Works by local artists gaze watchfully from the walls as diners tear into bacon, apple, and blue cheese pizza ($9) while basking in the glow of one of the many vibrant orange sofas or the lounge's outdoor seating. Meatloaf sliders, crowned with fried onion and jalapeno mayonnaise ($2.50 each), serve up a new twist on a traditional dish akin to Emeril's famous chicken-noodle schnapps. Vibe's bar pours mirth into the glasses of guests who enjoy colorful environs framed by hanging curtains and eccentric lighting, which host a variety of live musical performances and well-known artists 3–4 times a week and other events.
The Chicago Botanic Garden Wine Festival invites oenophiles, aficionados, and amateur wine-intakers to the lush, flowery foliage of the Chicago Botanic Garden for a weekend of wine tasting. More than 200 wines will be available for swirling, sniffing, and shipping at this year's festival, with a line-up of speakers and musicians providing enlightenment and entertainment for festival attendees. Local restaurants, including Abigail's American Bistro, Caoba Mexican Bar & Grill, and Bluegrass, will be on-site to sell gastronomic goodies, with an array of vendors showcasing everything from cookware to vacation services.
Lincolnshire Gourmet offers proper pairings of healthy, fresh fare and lively musical entertainment within a cozy, welcoming storefront. Lunch and dinner options include gluten-free chorizo meatballs dunked in a jalapeño-lime sauce ($7), po' boy sandwiches gripping shrimp, veggies, and spicy mayo ($18), and entrees starring the restaurant's worst-kept secret, the NoOodle. With zero net carbs, zero gluten, zero soy, zero fat, and zero calories, the all-natural NoOodle boasts oodles of benefits and makes a fitting bed for entangled edibles such as grilled salmon with sautéed spinach, garlic, avocado relish, and olive oil ($20), and ultralite primavera mingling with spinach, red peps, yellow squash, and carrots in a creamy garlic sauce ($11). To accommodate youthful appetites, the chefs also offer finger-friendly items such as grilled cheese paired with fresh fruit ($5), paper-thin, whole-wheat cheese pizzas for two ($6), and napkins. Reservations are not required, but they are recommended.