Restaurateur Ted first fed the Willow Springs community with his intimate establishment, My Way Café, whose popularity inspired him to expand his reach into fine Italian cuisine paired with delicately balanced wines at My Way Ristorante. Through the evolution of his businesses, though, Ted has never lost sight of doing things, as he puts it, his way. He focuses first on cultivating a warm, welcoming atmosphere in his restaurants, striving to make guests feel free to sit, eat, chat, and return.
Of course, delicious food comes in at a close second. He crafts an extensive menu of Italian dishes, calling out signature favorites with the addition of My Way to the dish’s name. My Way polenta pairs sautéed italian sausage with a white wine sauce, and My Way ravioli douses tomato crab-stuffed ravioli in a garlic cream sauce. Some recipes, however, Ted leaves just the way they are, relying on the time-tested ability of a simple grill to draw flavors from his 12-ounce rib eyes, 8-ounce filet mignons, and 2-ounce charcoal briskets.
Sandy's Sandwiches prides itself on feeding customers high quality bread, but not too much of it. Instead, they focus on serving up more meat, more cheese, and whatever other toppings make up the customer's sandwich of choice. With the Big Bet BLT, it's bacon, sliced avocados, and ancho-chipotle sauce; in the Chicken Melt Sub, it's swiss cheese and honey mustard; while the Chicken Salad Sandwich is topped with baby spinach and creamy pesto. Other sandwiches include massive eats such as the Colossal Corned Beef with horseradish dijon on marbled rye, or the Big Hammer, made with enough smoked ham and swiss cheese to put Thor to sleep. The menu also includes hot dogs—the Chicago Dog, the Striped Dog, and the Bacon Chili Dog—and wraps such as the Straight Veggie Wrap with roasted red pepper and artichoke hearts.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the "International House of Pancakes." Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Sultan Palace's all-you-can-eat spread of classic Indian curries, vegetarian dishes, and chicken entrees pleases diverse palates during lunch and dinner. A line of silver-plated catering trays host poultry choices such as chicken beryani and chicken tikka, as well as mixed vegetables for herbivorous cravings. Chicken and lamb curries entertain taste buds bored of leftover pizza and rehydrated astronaut cheeseburgers, and gulab jamun, a popular Indian dessert, embraces sweet teeth with donut-like bites smothered in saccharine syrup. Inside the newly established eatery, white-linen-cloth tables host maroon chairs surrounded by peach, textured walls adorned with artwork.
After their inaugural year, the organizers of the Porky’s Rib Fest hope that their event becomes an oft-circled event on the calendars of barbecue-loving Chicagoans. If this year’s vendor lineup is any indication, they’re already well on their way. Recruited from both inside and outside of Chicago, the award-winning roster includes vendors with decades of combined grilling experience. Hailing from the Lone Star State, Texas Thunder BBQ is a perennial favorite at rib fests around the country. On the hometown front, cooks from Berwyn’s Chicago BBQ Company sling their signature brand of slow-smoked meats. The lineup even includes an international representative: based out of Sydney, Australia, the meat masters of Aussom Aussie tempt taste buds at home and abroad with unexpected flavors such as fruit-based sauces.
Aside from chowing on an international buffet of barbecue, attendees can enjoy a continuous stream of live music emanating from Toyota Park’s expansive amphitheater. Acts have included '70s mainstays, a contestant from a televised music competition, as well as bands covering the iconic catalogs of KISS, Led Zeppelin, and Jimmy Buffett. Elsewhere, adults drool over the impressive rides on display at an onsite car show, and kids cash in tickets to climb aboard more than 30 carnival rides. A fireworks show will leave the sky more colorful than that summer when it got all those tattoos.