With a name that translates to “Golden Rooster” and a history that stretches back to Prohibition, Coq d’Or exudes confidence. It’s well earned. After all, this gentlemen’s drinking room has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Joe DiMaggio and continues to attract guests with its famous bookbinder soup.
The suds slingers at Village Tavern & Grill pour more than 30 types of brews in a neighborhood-style pub outfitted with more than 22 high-definition flat-screens. Diners munch on the tavern’s "world famous" chicken fingers, which can come coated in a buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, or a top-secret honey-mustard sauce plucked from the minds of bees, as they peruse the menu to decide upon an entree. House favorites include half slabs of slow-cooked baby back barbecue ribs and made-from-scratch beef stroganoff studded with slices of new york strip glazed in red wine and brown sauce and swirled in sour cream. Char-grilled, 85% lean 10-ounce burgers are cooked-to-order, and chefs simmer smoked pulled pork in a signature house-barbecue sauce to fill the barbecue pork sandwich’s gourmet bun. Couples or touring kazoo quartets can take a break to admire memorabilia of the history of Schaumburg as they sip on domestic draft beers in a cozy dining room with exposed-brick walls.
There’s no Jerry at Jerry’s. Owners Mark Bires and Mindy Friedler chose the moniker as an homage to Jerry Garcia, whose freewheeling spirit they evidently share, given that they’ve traveled the country sampling sandwiches ranging from Chicago's italian beefs to Philly's cheesesteaks, from New Orleans's po boys to New England’s lobster rolls. It’s easy to see the influence of their journeys on the eatery’s menu, a staggering array of more than 100 regional and ethnic sandwiches that could make a magic 8 ball cloud over from indecision. Root-beer-glazed ham, beef tenderloin, and fried tofu are but a few of the sandwiches’ centerpieces, their flavors accented by offerings such as fried green tomatoes and grilled asparagus. Diners can also customize their own creations from a board filled with meats, veggies, and 10 different bread options. Hand-formed burgers, rustic-cut fries, and decadent desserts add weight to the menu like an extra stripe adds weight to a zebra. At the eatery's bar, diners scan rows of roughly 200 American craft beers accessible by bottle or tap, and they savor a selection of 70 American whiskeys. When the digital jukebox needs a break, Jerry's hosts live music, the catchy tunes of which slither through door cracks and out to the outdoor dining area.
Finnegans Bar and Eatery may decorate its walls with HDTVs, but it doesn't assume that everyone's there to watch the game. From live bands and karaoke to games of bags and skee-ball, Finnegans supplies options for hours of more-active entertainment. The kitchen also ventures beyond its beer, whiskey, and pub classics such as corned beef with braised cabbage and beer-battered fish and chips to include comforting yet slightly exotic options from around the world. Wild boar rather than ground beef bursts from the several bite-size buns of an order of sliders, and Cajun tomato sauce adds zip to chicken pasta. There's also a weekend brunch menu anchored by a hefty Irish breakfast of bacon rashers, white pudding, black pudding, and irish sausage—served alongside a standard morning combo of eggs, potatoes, and toast.
Until recently, Finnegans' Gladstone Park home was the Blue Angel Restaurant, but inside there's no hint that it used to be a diner. Deep-orange walls wrap the entire room in a sunset glow, offset by dark-wood wainscoting, exposed brick, and modern touches such as bar shelves made from light panels and paintings of dogs playing Internet poker.
“Calabria is one of the world's most peaceful and beautiful places,” muses Via Carducci owner Giovanni Scalzo about his childhood home in Italy. Not only does he carry the memory and spirit of Calabria with him, he shares it with Chicagoans at his Lincoln Park and Wicker Park locations. At the Lincoln Park location, Via Carducci, mouthwatering meals show off ingredients characteristic of rustic, southern Italian cuisine that earned the restaurant a nod in the Chicago Reader and an appearance on Check, Please!. The elegant yet cozy dining room's brick walls are accented by a hand-painted mural of Scalzo's childhood home in Calabria.
At the Wicker Park eatery, Via Carducci La Sorella, his chefs stuff bell peppers with seasoned rice and ground beef and toss linguini with jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, and garlic-wine sauce, entrancing diners and delighting their seafood merchants with their shopping lists. The menu also boasts a hefty wine list replete with reds and whites from nearly every region in Italy.