Visitors to Bauer's Brauhaus, located in Palatine, Illinois, may feel as though they've stepped in from the streets of Munich. Eight taps bear names such as Spaten, Radeberger, and Weihenstephaner. Waitresses clad in custom-designed lederhosen ferry dishes between tables. And a hand-carved bar stretches 30 feet along one wall.
Owners Jason, Judy, Bob, and Gene Bauer drew from their German-American heritage to inspire their brew house's ambiance, decor, and menu. Chef Jason relies on time-tested family recipes to prepare German-American dishes—deep-fried pickles, hamburgers, and Wisconsin cheese curds—as well as German food such as beef rouladen, sauerbraten, and bratwurst crafted in-house. These dishes pair with wines hailing from both countries and a range of Old- and New-World beers that may arrive in standard pints, traditional boot-shaped steins, or a hollow bust of Ludwig van Beethoven.
An ice cream cone and a power ballad. The perfect combination, at least when it comes to founder and local musician Tyler Holcomb. Rock N Roll a la mode sits at the nexus of his favorite things: music and sweets. Live band performances, kid karaoke, and a video wall playing music videos set the tone for this dessert destination, where chalkboard menus show 32 flavors of ice cream, all delivered fresh from the mysterious wonderland known as Wisconsin. The staff scoops those frozen treats into waffle cones, blends them into shakes, and uses them to make floats. Glass display cases, meanwhile, look in on the day's cupcake varieties, which represent a selection of the shop's 189 total flavors with names such as Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and PB XXL. If that weren't enough, an entire wall of the shop brims with gummy bears, German chocolate, and other bulk candies.
It's not all sugar and guitar riffs, though. Rock N Roll a la mode's menu also covers a few more savory items, namely burgers and signature jumbo hot dogs. The latter come in several classic varieties?like Chicago-style?and more inventive forms, including the Nirvana with its coleslaw, mustard, and onion toppings.
In 1978 the Kourtis brothers purchased an old gas station on the corner of Hicks and Dundee with a simple dream and an iron-proof plan for success: to open a Greek restaurant that served great food at great prices, along with a side of true Greek hospitality. 35 years later, their dream is still very much in alive in Palatine, as well as in a second location in Algonquin. Now, as always, the signature menu item is the gyros sandwich, featuring savory gyros meat piled into a homemade pita and topped with tomatoes, onions, and the kitchen's own gyros sauce. The signature sandwich has also gotten a few modern updates throughout the years: the Italian gyros arrives on Italian bread topped with melted mozzarella, giardiniera, and marinara sauce, while a southwest gyros sandwich is served with cheddar, jalapenos, pico de gallo, and chipotle ranch. Of course, there are plenty of other non-gyros choices too, including burgers, Italian beef sandwiches, and rotisserie chicken, served in a toga "Athenian style".
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Beneath the classic yellow and red Vienna Beef sign, the cooks of Hot Dog Richie's labor as they have since 1975, bringing neighborhood diners Chicago-style dogs, homemade Italian beef sandwiches, and pizza makings. They dish up their signature invention known as the Auggie Dog, a jumbo-sized hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and doused with cheddar. Recently, the owners expanded their eatery, either to seat twice as many customers or to leave room for customers to eat twice as many hot dogs.
In their Cheap Eats section, the Chicago Tribune complimented Siri Thai II’s red and gold décor and took note of some of the more exotic items on the menu, such as the steamed escargot, mussels stir-fried with sweet basil leaves, and sizzling duck à la Siri. Owners Pam and Rath Lanpouthakoun draw upon their Thai and Laotian heritages as they serve up theses adventurous dishes alongside MSG-free classics including pad thai, curries, and fried rice.