Cafes in Prospect Heights

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Arlington Park's racetrack hosts a summer season of on-site wagering on live thoroughbred horse races across its sweeping, verdant turf. A blend of vintage and modern, the racetrack's tiered white buildings house myriad dining options—including a café, food court, Mexican restaurant, upscale restaurant, and two casual pubs—which provide a refuge for eager audiences and the horses' proud families. The popular Mr. D's Sports Bar caters to patrons with casual pub fare, including burgers, paninis, and hot dogs. In addition to screening live and off-season races, Mr. D's Sports Bar's TVs air live simulcast racing from around the country and screenings of other sports, such as full-contact chess.

2200 W Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights,
IL
US

If you've been bowling in Chicago, chances are pretty good you've been to a Chicagoland Bowling establishment. With member centers from the north to the south, the organization connects pin destroyers all over the city. The advantages of this network include tournaments that span the entire region, scholarship programs for talented youth bowlers, and a cornucopia of options for clowns who juggle bowling pins.

350 McHenry Rd
Buffalo Grove,
IL
US

Apple pancakes, along with Swedish pancakes, potato pancakes, and classic buttermilk pancakes, dominate the menu at the aptly named Red Apple Pancake House & Café. Diners can also sink forks into powder sugar-dusted crepes or Belgian waffles shaped like Jean-Claude Van Damme. Oven-baked three-egg omelets embrace fillings such as veggies and ham off the bone, while two-egg skillets come layered with potatoes and a mélange of fixings. Chefs start cooking lunch after 11 a.m., char-broiling up half-pound burgers and triple decking BLTs.

2121 Plum Grove Rd
Palatine,
IL
US

The menu at Illusion Bar Grill Cafe reads like a culinary map of Europe. Inside the relaxing lounge space, guests can start their journey in Italy by digging into paninis bursting with fresh veggies and savory meats. Next, it's on to Greece with a plate of hummus and Greek fries arranged in the shape of Dionysus giving the shaka sign. Pierogis transport diners further north in the continent, where bottles and drafts of Polish, Russian, and German beer complement the potato-stuffed dumplings. Finally, homemade tiramisu and an Espresso martini whisk taste buds back to the country where their journey began.

659 N Wolf Rd
Des Plaines,
IL
US

Liquid Fusion Café is part coffee shop, part teahouse, and part bubble tea den—a place where hot and cold drinks flow freely and free wi-fi quenches computers' thirsts. Baristas puree fresh strawberries, bananas, and honeydew into smoothie-like fruit freezes, and turn classic dessert flavors such as chocolate mint and cookies and cream into blended coffee drinks.

3375 Milwaukee Ave
Northbrook,
IL
US

Everything about Eggsperience Pancakes & Cafe is bright, warm, and sunny. Natural light floods the restaurant's eight locations, which sprinkle across Chicago and its suburbs like powdered sugar over a slice of french toast. Orange and yellow walls surround every dining room, and some locations have fireplaces, which make ideal places to sip Ghirardelli hot chocolate or espresso beverages. Even the food is colorful. Fresh fruits?either in solid or juice form?complement dishes such as the Mediterranean omelette, baked in the French style and filled with a vibrant medley of spinach, tomatoes, olives, and imported feta cheese.

Those omelettes, like what most of what comes from Eggsperience's kitchen, start with grade-AA, farm-fresh eggs. The chefs work magic with those eggs, whipping them into frittatas and poaching them for five different "Eggsquisite Benedicts." They also use them to create their signature pancake batter, but in this case, eggs are only the beginning. Strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits mix into the pancakes.

The creativity shown with those pancakes and egg dishes extends to dozens of other breakfast items, and diners could spend countless mornings at Eggsperience without boring their taste buds. The chefs don't stop at breakfast, either. They simply transition to lunch, when they grill Cajun avocado burgers and pair gourmet chicken-salad sandwiches with a soup of the day.

2545 Waukegan Rd
Bannockburn,
IL
US