A smattering of 20 sauces and seasonings dripping from handspun wings coats patrons' fingers as they cheer on their favorite professional sports teams broadcast on Buffalo Wild Wings' TVs. Eyes are torn between watching teams dribble a ball, shoot a puck, and land a grand jeté, and plates of plentiful wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and ribs. For more entertainment, trivia games exercise brains, and the Blazin' Challenge offers recognition for those brave enough to down a dozen wings slathered in the eatery's hottest sauce in 6 minutes.
Owner Kelly Garofalo presides over her family’s second restaurant, Grady’s Grille, aiming for a modern twist on the neighborhood eatery. Homestyle favorites, such as the hot ham 'n' cheese, served on a pretzel roll with dijon mustard, burst from the kitchen along with flatbreads, half-pound burgers, and shrimp tacos, which are ensconced in spicy house glaze previously used to deter gingerbread-house lickers. Playful breezes gambol across the outdoor patio and live entertainment includes acoustic sets from The Walk-ins to set diners’ hips swaying.
In the kitchens of Blueberry Hill's five suburban outposts, cooks forgo lazy morning lounging to pull together homey assortments of timeless brunch fare. Pancakes infused with fruit or sweets are made from scratch, much like hand-knitted socks or hand-painted report cards. French-toast slices get stuffed with apple and cream cheese, smothered in fruit, or rolled in Cap'n Crunch. Fresh meats and veggies take cover under eggs in savory skillets, and a selection of sandwiches quells cravings in handheld form.
In a venue first opened in 1925, experienced chefs at Glenwood Oaks Rib & Chop House answer meaty cravings with a menu of hand-cut steaks and hearty American fare. Artichoke-fritter appetizers ($6) sport a layer of rich béarnaise sauce to comfort french-fried artichoke hearts waiting cynically for diners to break them. Baby-back ribs ($18 at lunch; $22.95 at dinner) slowly cook in a customized oven filled with hickory smoke to create slabs Chicago magazine called “juicy, tender, and clinging to the bone.” During dinner, guests can request the roast prime rib of beef in the Chop House’s traditional cut ($31), or "Pecos style" ($25)—sliced and finished on the grill to combine the roast's tenderness with rugged char tattoos normally found on steak.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
The kitchens at Bogart's Charhouse radiate tantalizing aromas of grilled meat as the walls grab guests' attention with black-and-white tributes to Bogie. The restaurant's meaty steaks range from 10 ounces to 4 pounds on dinner plates, and lunch guests can dig into a Bogie bacon cheeseburger, or a low-calorie plate of cold turkey. Sliced beef or lasagna catering plates can satisfy appetites at off-site events, such as office parties or a monthly tribute to the oppressive giants that rule one's neighborhood.