Customers enjoy VB to Go’s classic Italian-American entrées in the comfort of their own domiciles, nestled next to sides of salad, steak fries, and bread that come standard. The giambotta is a mélange of sausage, black olives, and an Italian grandmother's garden's worth of veggies bathing in a light tomato sauce ($11.95), and battered slices of eggplant parmigian arrive draped in mozzarella ($10.50). Sixteen-inch specialty pizzas house hearty portions of toppings, with Windy City classics such as italian beef, giardiniera, and mirrored shavings of the Bean ($17.75). Pasta dishes swathe savory aliments such as the ricotta and spinach that meld inside stuffed shells ($9.25) or the shrimp and spicy tomato sauce that accent the capricciosa ($12.95).
For some, the word "barbecue" brings thoughts of burgers and hot dogs blackening on a backyard grill. But Kostas Antypas and Lukas Pulos?the Greek?born owner and chef, respectively, at Zagat-reviewed Smoked on Rose?are out to show diners a broader, more delicious world of barbecue. They honor all-American traditions by smoking brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder over fragrant wood chips, creating what one Franklin Park Herald-Journal writer described as "a simple celebration of hickory flavor," and also present the flavors of the Greek Islands in elegant dishes such as roasted suckling pig and tender broiled octopus. At times, Grecian and American flavors come together in harmony; take the pulled-pork pita, for instance, with creamy tzatsiki sauce to balance its smoky notes. Some of the most popular menu items include smoked ribs, brisket, pork, chicken, baby suckling pig, broiled lamb chops, fresh Greek fish sides, and the appetizers. Smoke-inspired art and hardwood floors set a casually refined scene in which to feast, and cocktails from a full bar satisfy the craving for a cold drink.
At Two Chefs Cafe & Catering, wait staff carries upscale twists on American traditions past the bar area to an expansive patio that’s surrounded by a picturesque wrought-iron fence. Inside, hosts lead diners to seats amid rustic brick walls and decorative wall pieces that organize bottles of French wine by their region. The kitchen staff makes classic cuisine from scratch for weekly events—such as the Friday fish fry and Sunday brunch—or intimate meals. They coat their six signature pasta dishes with one of five sauces and plate hearty helpings of canadian baby-back ribs. The cozy atmosphere grows more festive on weekends, when live music permeates the space and drowns out the play-by-play announcer in your head.
Andresen's Bakery hasn't budged in more than 50 years. The family-owned shop has stood the test of time at the same Main Street location, serving one generation of customers after the next with original family recipes. Today, those recipes continue to yield pastries, cakes for special occasions, and, most notably, butter cookies. Thought they're not a valid form of currency in Bensenville?yet?Andresen's staff sells these popular treats by the pound. The shop also decorates them throughout the year for approaching holidays, such as Easter and Halloween.
La Blondina Bakery's confection-crafting owner, Agnieszka Klepacki, pleases palates of all persuasions with café-style lunches and delectable desserts. Tarts tickle tongue buds with a choice of blueberry, pear, or almond filling ($14 for 8”; $16 for 9”; $18 for 10”), and chocolate-chip cookies ($1.50) and cupcakes ($1.50) furnish guests with bite-sized snacks for bribing hyperactive children or bosses. In addition to sweets, the expert bakers handcraft artisan breads from scratch, filling the store with the alluring scent of french bread ($2.49) and beer bread ($2.49). Sandwiches quell more substantial appetites with toothsome toppings such as roasted veggies, turkey, and italian meats ($4.95).
In Jimmy's Place's kitchen, chefs cook chicken vesuvio in a finely-tuned blend of olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasonings. According to a December 2011 article in the Forest Park Review, this signature dish is a favorite of Food Network star Jeff Mauro, who featured it on his show Sandwich King. The crispy Italian-American meal uses a recipe passed down through owner Jim Jodoin's family?as does the rest of the menu. Years of culinary tradition are written into the homemade marinara sauce that blankets the restaurant's chicken parmesan, the meat that stuffs its homemade ravioli, and the weighty toppings that keep its pizzas from floating up to the ceiling.
Out in the dining room, these meals pair with a distinctly local atmosphere?newspaper clippings and photos of customers line the walls, and bartenders pour drinks at a full bar as flat screen TVs beam in sports.