Adi Mor opened the first Garden Fresh Market in 1980, selling fresh produce from a 1,000-square-foot lot in Skokie, which he would stock by taking 2 a.m. trips to Chicago's South Water market. Today, Garden Fresh Market sprawls over six suburban locations, where fresh produce from apples to zucchinis is still procured daily.
Grocery items range from fresh meat from Midwest famers to a wide selection of ethnic foods and national brands. The deli slices meats and cheeses both domestic and imported, and house-made seasonal salads and main courses make bringing dinner home easier than stealing it from a neighbor's windowsill. Many of the market's online recipes have even made it onto NBC5, giving its cooks their share of 15 minutes of fame.
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.
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.
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.
Murals of Chicago sports legends surround Blue 60's bar and dining area, joining flat-screen televisions that act as windows to a world of huffing linebackers and fire-eyed pitchers. While safely perched at bar stools and pub tables, diners can watch the modern gladiators compete during contests including hockey games, college basketball match-ups, and the NFL’s off-season Shakespeare in the Park productions. Blue 60's kitchen staff fires stuffed burgers, stone-baked pizzas, and specialty sandwiches to accentuate each game while also bringing out the flavors in the beers that grace the bar’s tap list.
Once featured on ABC7's "Hungry Hound" segment, Restaurant Ararat doles out authentic comfort foods with origins in Armenia, Georgia, and even Russia. Tucked away in a Mundelein strip mall, this hidden gem features a menu packed with more than 70 dishes?including more than 17 kinds of shish kebabs, an Armenian specialty. Chefs cook these kebabs slowly over hardwood charcoal, relying on spices, fragrances, and other secret ingredients to elevate already sumptuous meats to another level. If you aren't planning on using the kebab skewer as a giant toothpick, though, the khachapuri adjarskie is also a good bet. This baked dish?essentially a Georgian pizza?comes loaded with feta cheese and topped with an egg yolk.