Tony Roma opened his first rib joint in 1972, a venture that became wildly successful after Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison, Jr. tasted the ribs and slaw and declared them the best he'd ever had. With his financial know-how and weighty pocket book, he helped Tony Roma's grow into the international brand it is today. Franchises have spread across the States like a wave of barbecue sauce, seeping over borders and staining the shirtfronts of thousands of satisfied diners.
Today, chefs still diligently emulate Tony's original ribs recipes, grilling up signature steaks and fresh-caught seafood combos enhanced with sides and garnishes of seasonal ingredients. In addition to the restaurant's signature meaty entrees, the staff whips up oven-baked desserts such as the golden-apple tarts and redskin potatoes hand- mashed by distinguished martial artists.
Village Limits Supper Club opens its doors to diners six days a week for a time-honored and traditional dinner. Turning out a variety of options, chefs prepare plates ranging from tender cuts of steak cooked-to-order to Friday-night fish fries of perch and haddock. A full bar fills glasses with beer, wine, and mixed drinks to complete each meal.
On the shore of Lake Michigan, tucked among the towering pines, a quaint building that would be at home in a fairy tale exudes cozy Midwestern hospitality with walls made of fieldstone, log beams that arch under a peaked roof, and a fireplace that crackles in the winter. In Donny's Glidden Lodge’s welcoming setting, guests tuck into Black Angus filet mignon, Australian cold-water lobster, and Iowan pork chops. Nightly specials of prime rib and just-caught lake perch join housemade soup, fresh bread, and salads made with mixed greens that diners grab from the salad bar.
During summery days, guests lounge on a patio with views of Lake Michigan that let them watch boats playing real-life games of Battleship. When the air carries a chill, tipplers can warm themselves with libations at the bar.
Perched on 22 acres of picturesque land, this dashing dinner spot sates diners with regular and lighter-fare menus, all while boasting verdant views of a nearby pond and wildlife casting wistful gazes at the delectable edibles. Rev up appetites with the flavorful crab cakes ($8.99) or the shrimp-and-lobster crêpes ($6.99 for one, $10.99 for two) rolled in the thin french pastry of happiness. The ahi-tuna salad ($8.99) marries the sea and the garden on your dinner plate, and the build-your-own burger ($6.99 plus $.25 for each topping) begins with a half-pound beef foundation and food stores ranging from fresh mushrooms to jalapeños and red peppers. The center-cut choice rib eye ($16.99–$22.99) is a hand-cut slap to the face of hunger, and the half-pound of king-crab legs ($15.99) bestows the royal treatment on grateful taste buds. Pizzas and pastas abound, as do savory wines ideal for complementing delightful dishes and toasting live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.
Overlooking the Fox River, The River Room Restaurant appeases appetites of all sizes with a mouthwatering menu of succulent delicacies. Inaugurate a dinner with friends, coworkers, or a selection of porcelain dolls with the chilled shrimp martini, which drenches skinny-dipping crustaceans in a horseradish cocktail sauce ($7). The potato-crusted cod ($14) halts hunger with a flavorful barricade, and the chicken 'n' bacon alfredo ($14) entrances taste buds with the hearty harmony of an edible Sonny & Cher concert.
Regatta 220 regales jaded restaurant veterans with a singular, elegant menu full of freshly assembled New American fare constructed from locally harvested produce when possible. Gluten-free edamame works great as a shareable starter ($3.99), and a veggie-flanked 10-ounce Angus sirloin awaits those on a meaty un-diet ($18.99). Baked cod served with spinach hashbrowns lands its succulent hooks into diners' taste buds ($15.99), and burgers such as the jalapeño-laden firecracker burger ($8.99) or the barbecue bacon cheeseburger ($8.99) tempt with tasty variations on the most American meal outside of flag-pin pudding. Vegetarian options abound, such as the portobello mushroom sandwich ($9.49), and an extensive wine list lets guests sip a glass of 2009 Canyon Road chardonnay to loosen their tongues before limericking their way out of awkward conversations ($5).