Bill and Amy Wesolowski were no strangers to barbecue when they opened their restaurant. After all, they'd been grilling up mountainous platters of ribs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken at local parties and special events since 2008. Within their cheerful, sunlit joint, the seasoned caterers and skilled barbecue chefs whip up their signature dishes, along with southern-style sides of barbecue beans, collard greens, and coleslaw. The duo even accommodates vegetarians with meat-free menu selections, unlike other barbecue venues that require vegetarians to wear an itchy wreath of string beans around their necks. Plates pair with bottles of beer as they sit atop the white-cloth tables of the casual dining room, where colorful photographs and drawings of jazz instruments adorn the walls.
Here's the thing about Famous Dave: he wasn't always famous. Dave Anderson inherited his passion for barbecue from his father, a humble construction worker who knew where to find the best barbecue on Chicago's street corners. In 1994, Dave opened his first barbecue shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, and before long, the shack was attracting 5,000 customers weekly?a momentous feat considering Hayward had a population of 1,800. Dave's lifelong pursuit of barbecue perfection had certainly paid off. It gave him a new life's work to be proud of. And, of course, a new first name to put on his passport.
With locations now spread across the U.S., Canada, and even Puerto Rico, Famous Dave's has become a revelation for barbecue fans. It has earned more than 700 awards, including first-place honors for its ribs, wings, and sauces. Most of these awards have Famous Dave's cooking process to thank. For every batch, pitmasters hand-rub high-quality cuts and cook them for hours at a time in live-wood smokers, taking care to not disturb the dragons napping between the logs. For Famous Dave's renowned ribs, the process has an extra step after the smoker, as each rack gets tossed on a grill to caramelize the sauces before serving.
Buffalo Street Grill's gastronomic gurus assemble a menu of sandwiches and classic steak-house dishes. Conjure absent appetites with starters such as shrimp and crab dip ($8.50), whose namesake duo unites with a light dijon cheese sauce and slices of baguette. Stacks of Boar's Head turkey, provolone cheese, and banana peppers adorn the turkey ciabatta's ($7.50) roll, and The Roseann ($6) turns the homey ideals of a classic BLT on its head with basil aioli. Instead of brandishing a large and cumbersome spear, twirl the angel-hair pasta from shrimp with lobster sauce ($14) around conveniently provided fork tines. Table denizens can also sharpen teeth on a 10-ounce Black Angus steak as it muscles its way past pesky hunger pangs to silence noisy stomachs.
Proprietor Nick Kotrides’s open-kitchen concept offers Empire Grill patrons a low-flying bird’s-eye view of chefs plating hand-cut 12-ounce steaks and Cajun shrimp alfredo. Modern light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows keep the two-story diner bright and welcoming, and semicircle booths surround a stocked bar. Flat-screen high-definition televisions and free WiFi let patrons tweet their most up-to-date thoughts on big games and sated stomachs inhibiting their ability to digest the importance of big games.
Tempo is an eclectic choice to go with when grabbing a bite to eat. Only open for dinner, they have a wide range of American, Mediterranean and Italian dishes to choose from. If steak and seafood is on your mind, you're in luck: steak and seafood are Tempo's specialties. If you're not in the mood for steak or seafood, worry not: everything at Tempo is delicious, and made with extremely fresh ingredients. There's a huge variety of pasta dishes, salads, and chicken, to satisfy every palate. Make sure not to miss Tempo's enormous wine list, or their list of featured dishes, which changes nightly. Have a big event coming up? They are able to cater for large crowds and provide delicious menu options for one and all.