Following in the footsteps of their father, the three Coli brothers aim to capture the flavors and traditions of classic Chicago cuisine with their slate of hearty comfort fare. Backed by a team of chefs, they forge Georgio's Chicago Pizzeria and Pub’s trademark deep-dish pizzas from a more than 60-year-old recipe, kept hidden to preserve its authenticity and hand-model-caliber hands. The hefty pies, along with their crispy thin-crust cohorts, were declared the best pizza in McHenry County by readers of the Northwest Herald, and helped the eatery garner a slot on Pizza Today magazine’s list of the Hot 100 Independent pizzerias in 2011. The brothers complement their acclaimed creations with a roster of pasta and sandwiches, dished up amid a sleek, upscale sports-bar atmosphere. Both locations are decked out in flat-screen TVs and reclaimed exposed brick.. The comfortable environs regularly play host to fundraisers and events, such as dinners that pair the Coli brothers’ prize-winning pizzas with a lineup of craft beers on tap.
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.
Suffused with the glow of 19 televisions and a high-definition projector, Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill caters to local fans with a menu of bar favorites and ample pours of brews and drinks. A heavily sauced selection of ribs, wings, burgers, and tacos satisfies game-day cravings and lubricates tongues for arguments about whether hockey is staged. Foamy beers and mixed cocktails slide down the bar to waiting hands while events such as trivia, karaoke, live bands, and standup comedy are officiated from the stage.
There is no dine-in service at The Golden Bowl, a Bartlett Chinese restaurant specializing in takeout and delivery. But that doesn't phase the regulars who keep coming back for spring rolls, house-made dumplings, and pan-fried noodles. In addition to these classics, the eatery's chef whips up original creations such as Crunchy Bartlett Chicken, which pairs shredded, lightly breaded chicken with tangy apricot sauce. Diners can order all of these dishes and more online, preventing one from having to pick up the phone or softly pray for chow mein to rain from the sky.
Every Sunday, Papa Saverio welcomed his family with the enticing aromas of simmering tomatoes, garlic, and onions as he cooked a traditional Italian meal for the whole clan. Two generations later, his children and grandchildren have grown into expert cooks themselves—thanks to their papa's teaching—and have founded their very own restaurant, Papa Saverio’s Pizzeria. Opened in 1997, what was once a single shop in Lake in the Hills has since expanded to 15 stores scattered across Chicagoland. Yet no matter the location, Papa Saverio’s Old-World recipes remain the same and his love of family pervades each eatery. Patrons can build their own pies atop a light and flaky thin-crust canvas or a slightly thicker pan-pizza crust, or they can go even bigger with the Chicago-style deep dish, which requires a fork and knife for mess-free consumption. Chefs hand-roll the eatery's original double-dough pie and layer cheese and toppings, such as sausage, green peppers, and hot giardiniera, between two crusts to create the stuffed pizza. Although Papa Saverio’s is known for its pies, the menu also features other Italian favorites, such as baked mostaccioli and lasagna, and plenty of sandwiches and wraps for those who already ate pizza for breakfast, lunch, and second lunch.
No matter how old you are, when a toy train pulls up bearing your lunch, you smile from ear to ear. At 2Toots Train Whistle Grill, O-scale toy trains bustle around the '50s luncheonette-style grill, delivering burgers, hot dogs, and fries to each table. These, however, are not just ordinary hot dogs, hamburgers, and chili; they're sourced from national and Chicago news journalist Bill Kurtis' Tallgrass grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, which means they're imbued with more nutrients and vitamins than beef that's been commercially-raised or fed a diet of candy corn.
But the veteran owned and operated eatery's sense of giving back doesn't just stop there. The restaurant promotes 1 Vet at a Time, a pending 501c3 that helps combat veterans secure business loans by serving as a benevolent lender.