Stuffed deer antlers, a large canoe suspended from the ceiling, and carvings of bears surround diners at Bill's Pizza & Pub. The northwoods seeps indoors at the venerable pizza place, which exhibits the idiosyncratic decor of a lodge. The wood-grained eatery first established its novel dining room more than 50 years ago, when its founder and namesake converted a garage into a roadside pizza joint. There, Bill and his wife, Pat, devised the double-decker pizza that still emerges piping hot from the kitchens at two locations. Both locales exhibit the same relaxed setting, in which families can scarf double-decker slices and freely toss peanut shells to the floor or out windows at mounted policemen.
The slice-savvy staff at Wa-Pa-Ghetti’s Pizza slather sauce made with vine ripened tomatoes atop the handcrafted crusts of thin, thick, and stuffed pies. More than 20 toppings mingle on pizzas, which are always made to order and emerge from ovens about half an hour after diners send orders via carrier kites into the kitchen. Chefs also assemble 15 kinds of sandwiches and a host of American fare to round out the menu. Barbecued ribs and chicken are slathered with the house sauce, and baked potatoes come adorned with edible topping toupees in combinations inspired by Italian and Mexican cuisines or loaded with a custom combination.
Brightly painted walls, vivid paintings of Mexican life, and flavorful margaritas lend Las Palmas' numerous locations a relaxed, distinctly "fiesta" vibe. As guests slowly unwind with friends, family, or Twister champions over ice-cold Mexican beers and cocktails, the chefs prepare fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos alongside plates of charbroiled meats and seafood. They also whip up vegetarian-friendly options, such as the signature guacamole and enchiladas banana, which they stuff with fried bananas and smother in mole sauce and melted cheese.
Though the menu is small at Wingstop, that doesn't mean the choices are limited. The chefs toss their cuts of chicken in a choice of 11 sauces, which range from the mild teriyaki to the mouth-scorching atomic. In between, they combine fruity and spicy with their mango habanero sauce or offer the complex flavors of their hickory smoked barbecue. They offer these sauces on many different preparations of chicken, whether its classic wings, boneless wings, or chicken tenders layered atop a bun to create a hearty sandwich. They pair all of their dishes with an array of carrots, celery, and dipping sauces, which help cool the fire of the wing glazes without keeping a fire extinguisher on tap.
The cooks at Wingstop put the ubiquitous phrase, “It tastes like chicken,” to the test. This is because they serve bone-in or boneless chicken wings in 10 different flavors, based on recipes from around America. They slather hawaiian-style wings in a sweet, mild sauce, or bedeck louisiana-rub wings in a dry blend of spices. They also cater to extreme spice-cravers with an amped up buffalo sauce named atomic, for its ability to disintegrate taste buds and convert them into electricity to power a deep fryer. They pair their hearty servings of wings with tasty sides, most notably fresh-cut, seasoned fries made from Idaho potatoes.
Steps away from the Mundelein train station, Caboose Restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch for a bastion of regulars who stop in for a quick bite on the way to work or bring the family to teach the kids what hoagies are. Generous skillets such as the All Aboard kick start mornings with a pile of hash browns loaded with meat and veggies then smothered with a blanket of cheese sauce or sausage gravy. At lunch, chefs load grilled french bread with philly steak and shape burgers by hand with Angus beef. To complement the savory dishes, mugs fill with specialty espresso drinks and drip coffee from Seattle's Best.