Founded in 1913, Leonidas produces more than 100 kinds of Belgian chocolates and disseminates them to sweet teeth the world over. Inside the cozy Chocolate Café, hot-chocolate beverages trade stock tips with solid chocolate callettes, each made in accordance with traditional methods from 100 percent pure cocoa butter, fresh butter, and fresh cream. Leonidas's chefs create additional treats with hazelnuts from Turkey, morello cherries from the Périgord, and walnuts from Grenoble, with items available in-store and online. The staff encourages decadence and serves an assortment of fresh truffles such as the perle coco, which is forged with milk-chocolate ganache and coconut flakes.
The menu at Big Tomato Pizza tags three distinct species of pizza pie: thin, stuffed, and Chicago-style deep dish. Diners can adorn their pies with more than a dozen toppings, including pepperoni, giardiniera, and pine nuts. To entertain pintsize taste buds, the kitchen bakes pizzas into kid-friendly shapes such as dinosaurs, teddy bears, and, since they suggest clown noses and games of ring around the rosie, circles. Stuffed pastas such as ravioli and manicotti brim with creamy cheese and a choice of five sauces, and local, organic coffee couples nicely with international desserts such as chocolate cannoli.
153 Akira's traditional and specialty sushi rolls are crafted with a hint of French flair, which has helped earn the eatery its reputation as one of the best sushi restaurants in the area according to Citysearch readers in 2010. With sushi offerings ranging from sashimi to vegetable rolls and specialty maki, the eatery has selections fit for all types of sushi lovers, even those who just pretend to until they get to a restaurant. Luckily for those diners, the chefs also create traditional Japanese dishes such as beef udon and chicken teriyaki.
For Chef Rob, cooking fine cuisine is a family affair. He learned his skills at the knee of his Sicilian grandmother, who taught him everything he knows about how to run a kitchen. Today, he still hones his recipes in a similar setting, cooking furiously as his wife and daughter stand ready to dutifully taste his creations. After finishing his at-home experiments with the daily haul from the local market, he heads to Wilmette Chop House to begin preparing food for that night?s hungry customers.
During the dinner rush, Rob welcomes many of the same faces that he laughed and joked with at the market that morning. He oversees a grill filled with filet mignon, lobster tails, and his signature double-cut bone-in smoked pork chops. These delicious proteins come out hot on the heels of fresh-baked bread, acquired from Heavenly Hearth Bakery just around the corner. To wash down Chef Rob?s creations, bartenders mix up the restaurant?s signature cocktail?the Thin Mintini. In addition to describing the drink's refreshing taste, the beverage?s name also hints at the building?s history; the venue once served as the original bakery for the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Not content to cater only to two of the five senses, Rob also retains the services of professional musicians at his piano bar on most evenings, who wow audiences and reviewers with their skill at the keys and with catching food tossed at their mouths.
As Chuck Rometty sat in his yard one day, sipping a beer next to his 160-pound newfoundland, he wondered how he might re-create that relaxing experience on a daily basis. To do so, he founded The Big Black Dog Tavern & Grill, where pictures of large, sable-coated canines on the brick walls pay homage to Rometty's beloved pet. As for the beer portion of his vision, bartenders pour cold drafts from four rotating taps and open 55 different bottles of imported and domestic beer, including picks from Chicago- and Midwest-based breweries. The chefs smoke the pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket in-house and present diners a choice of texas barbecue, memphis sweet, or carolina mustard sauce. As Chicago magazine points out, the eatery is steps away from Rometty's other restaurant, the bistro and wine bar called Gilson's. The new, comparatively casual BBD space boasts cozy wooden booths, several TVs for sports fans, and a jukebox playing songs that only dogs can hear.
“Fuel stands for ‘food you eat locally.’ We try to source everything locally, within a 100-square-mile radius from [the] restaurant." This is how owner Tim Lenon summarized his restaurant's philosophy to Wilmette Life, and Fuel Wilmette is undoubtedly committed to supporting the region's farms and culinary artisans. Cage-free eggs and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats arrive from Wisconsin, the staff finds organic produce at area farmers' markets, and Heavenly Hearth Bread Company—located just a couple blocks away—bakes fresh batches of breads for the restaurant every morning. And the farm-to-table concept applies to all three meals. Cups of fair-trade coffee accompany breakfasts of chorizo omelets, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, or quiche brimming with seasonal ingredients. The dinner menu's selection of New American cuisine tends to change as the restaurant receives fresh bounties of meats and produce. This allows the chefs to flex their culinary muscles and experiment with international flavors while still spotlighting the local ingredients. Grass-fed beef sliders with housemade bacon embody classic American cuisine, while green lentils with roasted winter vegetables and citrus-marinated tilapia tacos demonstrate the chefs' range. Fuel Wilmette's relatively sleek, black-and-white décor stands in contrast to its menu's earthy roots, but it still embraces the same theme of sustainability. According to TribLocal Wilmette/Kenilworth, the hundreds of ceiling tiles in the dining room are made from recycled PVC pipes and the hanging lights were constructed using recycled plastics. These features blend in seamlessly with the modern room's dark-tiled floors, large front windows, and chalkboards.