Whatever their current drink of choice may be, guests can find it at Flight 112 ?but they shouldn't be surprised if they leave with a new favorite. The bar and restaurant revels in the unexpected. When Time Out Chicago's 2010 list of Top 50 Bars reported that patrons "get crunk, cultured and coiffed all at the same place," it was in reference to the Thursday-night haircuts Flight offered at the time. The Daily Herald describes Flight 112 as an "outstanding wine bar equally attractive to beer lovers." It's this dual-focused identity that keeps regulars returning. Daily specials, such as Whiskey Wednesdays and ladies' nights, make average evenings special. A full menu of tapas, gourmet entrees, and artisan cheese makes the location an appetite-annihilating hangout and a great place for your pet fork to meet other, likeminded forks.
But Flight 112 is far more than a bar and restaurant. It's also a wine shop manned by sommeliers who love to share their passion with others. Its specialty here is organic wines, and the sustainable commitment that steers that specialty is also what guides the store's recycled bottles, corks, and packaging. (Flight 112's community awareness doesn't end there?it also helps many local organizations' fundraising efforts.) Flight 112's social and friendly atmosphere, paired with its full food and drink menu, make it a chosen venue for many birthday and bachelorette parties.
In 2009, Nate and Katie Nakasatian decided that the best vessel for their made-to-order Asian fusion cuisine was not a bowl, but buns. They invented an entire menu’s worth of sandwiches stuffed with homemade sauces and Eastern-inspired filling, from panko-crusted crab cakes to chicken satay. Zenwich has since been featured on CLTV's Chicago's Best Sandwiches segment, and its beef curry sandwich—packed with pulled beef, potato, carrots, and onions that have all slow-cooked in a curry gravy—won a spot on Chicago magazine's list of The 50 Best Sandwiches in Chicago. Its "sloppy and satisfying" construction complements that of other robust offerings, such as the crispy pork katsu inside the Bryanism sandwich. Rather than placating vegetarians with meaty sandwiches molded into the shape of a lettuce leaf, the Nakasatians chose to create five signature veggie Zenwiches, including a tofu teriyaki sandwich and the Bibimbob—a mix of sautéed spinach, shitake mushrooms, and veggies in sesame oil.
Wok 'n Fire?named Best Asian Restaurant by West Suburban Living?tantalizes taste buds with a menu bursting with flavors from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. In their specialties, chefs sear seafood, steak, and chicken with complex flavors in the wok. They craft sashimi and specialty maki rolls, as well as twirling together noodle dishes that range from japanese udon to thai curry noodles and the cantonese noodles used in ancient tugs of war between provinces. Ginger ale and flavored lemonades, both crafted in-house, hydrate throats between bites.
Decor varies across the Asian bistro's locations throughout the western suburbs, but all share dramatic lighting, sleek hardwood floors, and smooth wooden seating that all obey one gravitational constant. Sophisticated accents pervade each location, such as dangling lights that recall bells, sinuous golden dragons undulating across a wall, and partitions that mimic an abacus or twined branches.
The owners of Fratello's Family Restaurant and Pizzeria make themselves as visible outside the restaurant as they do inside. Take, for example, their support of Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 by entering a buffalo-chicken pizza in the district office's 2012 Top Pizza Night, where it won Best Specialty Pizza. They also build Fratello's image through similar efforts, from serving as the exclusive caterer of Pump It Up Elmhurst to bringing concessions to local events, such as hockey games or family comedy roasts. Back at the restaurant, chefs mold dough into the bases of thin-crust, pan, or stuffed-crust pizza, and prepare classic Italian and American dishes.
The Silverado Grill brings the sizzling taste of Texas to the midwest. Its Lone Star roots are evident from the minute you step in the door?if the aroma of old-fashioned barbecue doesn't give it away, the Texan flag warbling "The Yellow Rose of Texas" from the wall will. Here, chefs hand-cut steaks and whip up a menu of Southern specialties, including baby back ribs, catfish filets, and hearty chicken dinners. Plates are served up in a casual, family-friendly dining room, which hums with the sounds of country music.
Serene Teaz’s herbal outfitters dress up waiting cups in international teas, rooibos, infusions, and matés. Toast sunrise over a breakfast campfire with a mug of smoky lapsang souchong black tea ($10 for 4 oz.) or train crosshairs at midafternoon fatigue with a restorative shot of gunpowder green tea ($10.50 for 4 oz.). Steeped like tea, South African rooibos transforms into a drinkable dessert when paired with fruit or chocolate. One of Serene Teaz’s most popular rooibos brew, Sweet Sin ($10 for 4 oz.) sifts together vanilla, rose petals, and freeze-dried raspberries to elicit a decadent aroma capable of transporting drinkers toward serene moments or back to their days as a chocolate-rabbit breeder. Herbal infusions dance across nose buds with scents blended from fruits, herbs, and flowers such as hibiscus ($10 for 4 oz.) and peppermint ($9 for 4 oz.).