Punctuated by festive colors, a plentiful bar, and ample outdoor seating, La Chimenea's two locations put diners in the mood to celebrate. Owner Hector Jimenez—who also has a website dedicated to healthy Mexican food—offers dishes that run the gamut of Mexican staples. Menu items include homemade guacamole and sirloin-steak fajitas, along with more innovative creations, such as the specialty chilies en Nogada, which fills two poblano peppers with ground beef, peaches, apples, and nuts before slathering it all in a creamy cashew sauce. At the bar, a variety of tequilas anoint lime, strawberry, or raspberry margaritas, and patio seating keeps the seasons at bay with a fire pit during the winter months and a restaurant-sized snow globe over the summer.
Rosati’s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest—with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host—but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options—crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed—as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
Far from the bustle and hullabaloo of the city, The Jail House Restaurant's historic farmhouse towers over surrounding cornfields and golden pastures. Erected in 1845, the striking wooden edifice once housed a general store and tavern before being converted into the upscale steak house it is today. Inside, a logwood staircase leads to the dining room, surrounded by walls of rustic wood paneling. In the kitchen, grills sizzle with hearty new york strip steaks, prime rib, and seafood, along with a rotating selection of daily specials. Meanwhile, the staff of bartenders—renowned for their wit and trampolining skills—doles out fine wines and cocktails.
Beneath the glow of warm lights, Casa Tequila delights taste buds with the vivacious flavors of authentic Mexican dishes. Chefs draw on fresh ingredients and produce exclusively, ensuring that every dish is free of packaged sauces and Lincoln Logs. Sauciers prepare guacamole before tables, and the restaurant's many flat screen TVs fill the space between bites with Badgers and Green Bay Packers games. A full bar, replete with imported beer, margaritas, and daily specials, keeps spirits merry and coasters employed.
Villaggio's authentic Italian cuisine and New York–style pizza fill out the menus with Tuscan flair. Unfold the lunch menu to furnish an empty stomach with endless homemade soup, Italian house salad, and warm homemade breadsticks ($6.50), or multitask with a BlackBerry in one hand and a sausage-and-mushroom calzone in the other ($6.99). Authentic Italian dinners at Villaggio harness the renewable energy of the tides with mussels di Napoli, simmered with white wine, garlic, butter, and onions ($7.99). Savory house specialties, include breaded eggplant parmesan dressed in marinara, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella ($10.99) and charcoal-grilled, balsamic-marinated pork chops served alongside garlic mashed potatoes ($12.99).