Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
The Village of Park Forest lays claim to being one of the first postwar planned communities. In 1948, as World War II veterans were looking to make peacetime lives, the village’s pioneers built affordable housing and an accessible road system for a diverse, welcoming community dotted with green parks and tail-finned trees. Today those trees have grown into a mature canopy, and the village has taken steps to maintain its legacy while seeking to reinvent itself for the modern era. In 2000, the Metropolitan Planning Council awarded the village a Burnham Award for its downtown redevelopment. The revitalized downtown area features a variety of spaces where community members can come together, including its Dining on the Green meeting and banquet facility, which overlooks the village green's verdant pasture decorated with ornamental flowers, a gazebo, and sculptures that do not animate and roam the streets with each full moon.
J N Michaels' voluminous menu of classic American diner fare provides myriad meal options to sate the cravings of every guest at any hour of the day. Whether the time of day is early morning or long after the sun begins snoring below the horizon, cooks sizzle breakfast skillets, assemble lunch sandwiches, and plate hefty dinner platters. They craft many of the dishes from scratch, and in the eatery's bakery, they whip up pies and pastries that join handcrafted, old-fashioned milkshakes to conquer sweet teeth's lingering postmeal demands. J N Michaels is devoted to enriching its community and frequently helps support nearby schools' and churches' fundraising efforts.
Vetavia's Cajun Cafe and Bar has the ingredients for either a relaxed family dinner or a late night on the town, depending on your mood. In the afternoon or early evening, you might find tables laden with seafood po-boys, chicken wings, and bowls of jambalaya, and maybe even little ones digging into kid-size portions of catfish nuggets. As daylight dims and the many, many crystalline chandeliers grow brighter in contrast above the blue-velvet chairs, guests might be more likely to order from the full bar and indulge in oysters, prime rib eye, and grilled crab. At that point, live music might start playing from the corner stage?if it's not taken over by karaoke, a much cheerier way to get the crowd involved in the night's entertainment than having a ventriloquist hide in a corner.
Kenneth Lewis Sr. founded Kenny's Ribs & Chicken in 1984 in a storefront on Chicago's Stony Island Avenue. Lewis and company have spent the last three decades well, perfecting their flavorful baby back ribs, turkey tips, hot links, fried chicken, catfish, and more. Lewis has since expanded to three Illinois joints, one of which includes sister company Dusties Southern Style Buffet where diners can enjoy soul food such as fried chicken, cornbread dressing, and catfish. Kenny's Ribs & Chicken serves up meals that range from feeding one hungry mouth to a party full of meat lovers, even offering bags of ice that can help keep drinks cool and the floor on which they rest even cooler.
Live jazz music swirls throughout Flavor Restaurant on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings each week, blending with the sweet and spicy aromas of Southern breakfast and dinner specialties. The restaurant conjures made-from-scratch dishes from family recipes, and specialties include Grandma Haywood's blackened catfish and eggs, pecan-stuffed chicken, and sweet-potato pancakes with mandarin-orange butter. Breakfast triumphs over the sun on select jazz nights, when diners can conclude their evenings with menu items typically reserved for sunrise. The dessert menu punctuates meals with Southern classics including New Orleans bread pudding, and adds Southern kicks such as peach cobbler.