In the kitchens of Blueberry Hill's five suburban outposts, cooks forgo lazy morning lounging to pull together homey assortments of timeless brunch fare. Pancakes infused with fruit or sweets are made from scratch, much like hand-knitted socks or hand-painted report cards. French-toast slices get stuffed with apple and cream cheese, smothered in fruit, or rolled in Cap'n Crunch. Fresh meats and veggies take cover under eggs in savory skillets, and a selection of sandwiches quells cravings in handheld form.
The gyro yielders at Kronos Gyros & Café combine authentically Greek ingredients to prepare fresh and flavorful Mediterranean pitas and gyros and salads as well as local specialties. Mediterranean munching commences with the gyros platter, stacked with seasoned meat, rice pilaf, hummus, warm pita wedges, and a choice of salad ($7.49). Flatbread pizza crust keeps a low profile beneath the show-stealing combo of toppings on the barbecue chicken pizza ($5.99), including chopped chicken, tomato, onion, barbecue sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Local specialties offer flavors as familiar as the back of your hand tattooed with your monogram, including the Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dog ($2.49) and Maxwell Street polish sausage ($3.99). Celebrate sweet victory over hunger with honey and granola-filled greek yogurt ($1.50) or flaky baklava ($1).
Juicy-O Pancake House’s kitchen serves up an inexhaustible menu of breakfast and lunch fare ranging from syrup-slathered flapjacks to savory egg specials. Named for its fruit juices, which run the gamut from classic orange to exotic pomegranate, Juicy-O also prides itself on its donuts, which are crafted from a secret house recipe and "fried before your eyes on a little donut maker,” according to ABC Chicago’s Steve Dolinsky.
Juicy-O’s locations each exude cheerful vibes, with dining rooms that are flooded with natural light and walls that are covered in framed anecdotes, such as, “Every family tree always produces nuts!” and “Time is money! Stop reading these stupid signs!”
Great American Bagel Burr Ridge's family-owned bakery doles out dozens of its fresh-made dough discs from its brand-new location. Each bagel is mixed from scratch and steam-baked every day for maximum chewiness. The ring bearers also offer catering services, with platters for business meetings and wedding cakes made entirely from bagels slathered in cream cheese.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.