Spitfire Pub & Grill hums with the sounds of trivia questions and live music from local bands and artists on open-mic nights. Amid the lively atmosphere, guests swig local beers and wine while devouring hot-dog sliders, fish 'n' chips, and shredded-beef flatbread with a smoky barbecue glaze. They relax at hardwood tables inside or beneath the blue umbrellas dotting the expansive outdoor patio, which plays host to numerous flat-screen TVs broadcasting the Brewers game or an intense staring competition.
A colonial-style brick mansion with two stories of picturesque wraparound porches and balconies greets visitors as they approach Tony & Mia's. Once inside, they’re met by the smell of pizzas, pastas, risottos, and steaks along with the approachable familiarity of homestyle Italian meals. Framed prints of famous Renaissance paintings fill the walls. And the warm glow of antique chandeliers evokes memories of sharing a Thanksgiving meal at the grandparents' farmhouse, or perhaps of stealing the neighbor's chandelier.
Head Chef Camille DiNicola wills into existence stone-baked, mozzarella-topped pizzas, slow-braised beef ravioli, and marinated Cornish hens. Her husband⎯manager Randy Piering⎯ensures the comfort and satisfaction of each guest. Diners relax with glasses of fine Italian wine and small plates as they listen to professional crooners sing Sinatra standards, or gather on the lawn to watch the expert spheroid-flinging of the neighborhood bocce league.
The dining room at Endter’s Sports Grill goes completely silent as occupants stare intently at athletic contests playing out on the screen in front of them. As the winning touchdown is scored, the room erupts into a flurry of yelps and victory dances, sending the pennants dappling the exposed-brick walls fluttering in a dance of their own.
Behind the scenes, a crew of chefs rustles up a menu of pub fare built around Black Angus beef, lake perch, and hand-battered cod. Steam trickles from a pizza oven, hinting at toppings such as sausage, fresh tomatoes, and banana peppers. Beneath memorabilia from bygone eras of football and competitive baseball-cap wearing, diners blow on the molten pies, waiting to wash them down with draft and bottled beers. The suds, which hail from Germany as well as local brewers including Sprecher and Central Waters, click together in glasses, summoning forth belly laughs near the eatery’s flickering fireplace.
In 1957, Chuck’s Supper Club suffered its first fire. The second would come 10 years later as a blaze that completely demolished the building. The twice-rebuilt eatery then operated without incident until closing in 2000, lying dormant for 10 years before it became Burke’s Lakeside Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant’s owners renovated its interior, decking the walls in dark cherry accents and building a stone fireplace as the room’s centerpiece and an alternative entrance for hungry chimney sweeps. Inside the banquet room, a hardwood dance floor sprawls in front of a live-music stage, and outside, a wraparound deck overlooks the shores of Silver Lake.
At the bar, servers pour more than 17 wines and 10 draft beers. In the kitchen, chefs blend regional American recipes to craft dishes such as grilled 16-ounce steaks, Pabst Blue Ribbon–braised ribs, and cast-iron-seared salmon with avocado relish and jalapeño corn. They also design their own takes on international dishes such as shepherd’s pie, and lobster and shrimp wontons.
Becky’s Blissful Bakery’s confectionists eschew high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives, instead, they handcraft most batches of gluten-free caramels from organic ingredients—including some from other local merchants. Along with the original vanilla-caramel recipe, flavors such as masala chai tea from Rishi Tea or extra-special bitter beer from Lakefront Brewery infuse the treats with added complexity. Rather than protecting each caramel by wrapping it in peanut butter, Becky’s bakers swaddle the morsels in wax paper before arranging them in packages accented with silver bows.
For more than a decade, ZaZing! has brought smiles to diners’ faces with house specialty dishes, Chicago-style classics, and delicious pizzas. The primo house pizza tops a pie with bubbly mozzarella cheese, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. They also whip up Windy City-style jumbo hot dogs, as well as other Chicago staples such as italian sausage, polish sausage, and grilled bratwurst. Every day they serve up country-style chicken meals, and Fridays usher in a weekly fish fry. For dessert, Chocolate Shoppe ice cream blends seamlessly into tasty malts and shakes, rich cones, and creamy sundaes and banana splits.