Patrons can come and go as they please during The Cellar Door's open-house-style tastings, which warm tongues from noon until 4 p.m. and send palates on global jaunts through 20 specialty wines from around the world, each fluent in its own flavor language. Between samplings, sippers can nibble on light hors d’oeuvres as they browse the shop’s ample bottle selection for the perfect aperitif adoptee. The Cellar Door's commitment to providing the finest vintages at vintage-low prices means that guests can find their ideal quaffs without having to cruise the illegal burgundy market.
Meg's Daily Grind owners Chris and Jodi Erickson and their two daughters brew up aromatic fair-trade and organic coffees and blend fresh-fruit smoothies. Swing by one of the cafes to slurp down a blended iced coffee roasted from beans from around the world by A Small Batch Artisan Roastery (a $4.12 value each). Meg's caffeinated beans are ordered weekly to ensure flavors are as fresh as a newspaper straight from the oven. Guests can also get their fruit fill with smoothies that fuse the best of nature's bounty to create refreshing summer libations (a $4.12 value each). Pair any of the morning thirst quenchers with such pastries as a cheddar-herb bagel, a chocolate-chip bagel (a $1.97 value), or a lemon-and-poppy-seed muffin top (a $1.28 value), all baked fresh daily.
Wheatstack, nestled on the historic farmland of two of Lisle's earliest settlers, John and Bertha Hatch, doles out a bountiful harvest of comfort fare made from scratch. Warm up human food processors with an appetizer of choice, including 10 spicy thai or buffalo-style jumbo chicken wings or bruschetta constructed on a baseboard of country bread. To practice synchronized eating, patrons can dive into a serving of penne vodka swimming with pasta, roasted chicken, and parmesan cheese. A plate of sautéed lemon chicken sends angel hair pasta gliding across tongues like Roombas on ice, and seasonal veggies and a bed of wild rice snuggle up to an 8-ounce tilapia fillet, which can be grilled, blackened, or sautéed. Wheatstack's lengthy wine list pours out a variety of grapey nectars, including a Ruffino pinot grigio from Italy and a Raymond merlot. Little mouths 10 years old or younger can feast on offerings from the kids' menu, and guests with dietary restrictions can indulge in the gluten-free menu.
At Two Chefs Cafe & Catering, wait staff carries upscale twists on American traditions past the bar area to an expansive patio that’s surrounded by a picturesque wrought-iron fence. Inside, hosts lead diners to seats amid rustic brick walls and decorative wall pieces that organize bottles of French wine by their region. The kitchen staff makes classic cuisine from scratch for weekly events—such as the Friday fish fry and Sunday brunch—or intimate meals. They coat their six signature pasta dishes with one of five sauces and plate hearty helpings of canadian baby-back ribs. The cozy atmosphere grows more festive on weekends, when live music permeates the space and drowns out the play-by-play announcer in your head.
At Ed Debevic's, every house burger, hot dog, and diner entree shares a not-so-secret ingredient: sass. The servers welcome guests to the vintage venue with tongue-in-cheek remarks and paper deli hats, seating them next to vibrant examples of what Centerstage calls "smart-aleck decor": fake autographs, old-timey ads, and signs that carry proverbs such as "Eat Now…Pay Waiter." The mischievously retro tone is cultivated in homage to one of the owner's favorite restaurants, Lill's Homesick Diner. Back in the '50s and '60s, Lill acquainted Ed with the classic flavors of comfort food cooked from scratch, showcasing the spirited moxie that made her a standout in the short-order world.
Ed chose to emulate both her classic cooking and feistiness at his own diner. Many of his menu items are housemade, including the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, the desserts, and the blue-cheese sauce on top of the Ed's Blue Moon burger. Milk shakes and malts pair well with a variety of hot dogs and sandwiches, especially when counterbalancing the effects of Atomic Mix: a blend of diced jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes that garnishes certain plates. The staff stays in comically impudent character throughout these meals. And every now and then, the servers pause to put on countertop dance numbers that are almost as exciting as the time your grandpa turned the lazy Susan into a zoetrope.