Corner Cafe has some of the freshest produce in the area, making it a hit amongst Alliance locals.
When you don't have time to grab lunch or dinner, these tasty snacks will hold you over until you can take a break.
Not everyone has time for pancakes in the morning. Get going with a tasty box of cereal the whole family will enjoy.
Feeling hungry? Canned food from Corner Cafe makes for a quick and tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner option.
Health nuts will go crazy for the refreshing beverages available here, a great way to stay happy and hydrated.
Healthy eaters realize the importance of dairy in their diet. Make sure you're getting your fill of Vitamin D with dairy products from Corner Cafe.
A little here, a little there, you can never have enough vinegar and oil. Used in almost every recipe, these liquids will come in handy.
Don't settle for bland food. Pick up some spices and seasonings from here and make your next meal a hit.
Who's hungry? A frozen entree will fool anyone's palate, so why waste time cooking up a storm?
Find a shorter path to dinner when you take control of your prep time by investing in frozen foods.
Take a dive and swim away with some succulent fish. It's a great source of protein for your next meal!
This fresh produce here is so tasty it will change the way we think about healthy eating.
For the meat lover in you, you'll enjoy the offerings of eclectic meats at this place.
All the supplies you need to make a craveworthy dessert are here.
You can never have too much water on hand, so grab a bottle or two from Corner Cafe.
Bring out your Italian side in the kitchen and create a yummy pasta dish with some noodles from Corner Cafe.
Grab a loaf of bread from Corner Cafe and make your sandwich just the way you like it.
If you love to taste different tea and coffee blends, check out the selection of items available at Corner Cafe.
Drivers will find parking not far from the store.
So grab your grocery list and head on over to Corner Cafe in Alliance.
For familiar food you're sure to love, head to Grinders Above and Beyond for American-style cuisine.
Ready for a drink to unwind? At this restaurant, you can pair your meal with something from their full bar.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this restaurant has kid-friendly food and seating.
At Grinders Above and Beyond, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Not to be overlooked is Grinders Above and Beyond's no-charge wifi.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Grinders Above and Beyond's tasty dishes at your next party.
Homebodies can take advantage of this restaurant's delivery and take-out options.
At Grinders Above and Beyond, free parking is offered on the whole block.
Store your bike at a nearby rack and enjoy a bite to eat at Grinders Above and Beyond.
When you're craving a true American classic, such as a burger and fries, make your way over to Grinders Above and Beyond.
For a casual American classic, Grinders Above and Beyond will serve you up a delicious meal in Alliance.
So what are you waiting for? Come see what the highly-rated American food at Grinders Above and Beyond is all about.
For true American comfort food, head to Karen's Castle for a sandwich or side of fries.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
The happy hour at Karen's Castle is sure to impress.
Seating is readily available at Karen's Castle for those with large parties.
For those who love to shake it, hit the restaurant dance floor and show off some of your best moves.
It can be a bit of a mob scene on the weekends, so don't take a chance on getting seated — best to call ahead and make a reservation.
The dress code is strictly casual at Karen's Castle, so come as you are (and as you are comfortable).
You can also have Karen's Castle cater your next event.
You can also grab your grub to go.
With a parking lot adjacent to Karen's Castle, you won't get stuck circling the block.
The average check at Karen's Castle will stay below $30 per person, so it's a relatively affordable option.
Find your sweet (or savory) spot at Karen's Castle, where you can opt for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Isn't it time you indulged in the old classics of American food? Stop by Karen's Castle to have a bite of deliciousness.
Come to Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill to grab an American classic with a side of fries.
The drink list at this restaurant has everything you need to complete your meal (and your night out).
Sunny day plus appetite equals the perfect time to head to Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill for a group meal.
Throw on your favorite T-shirt and head out the door — dining at Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill is all about comfort.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill's tasty dishes at your next party.
If time is of the essence, this restaurant's take-out option may be a better fit.
At Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill, drivers can settle for safe parking in the lot next door.
A typical meal at Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill will set you back less than $30.
Patrons can choose to charge their bill, as Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill welcomes the use of most major credit cards.
No matter what type of American dish you're in the mood for, Rey's Rt 62 Bar and Grill has a great selection of dishes to choose from.
Wine and dine at Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe in Alliance.
This restaurant's fully stocked bar is a perk for patrons who enjoy a fine wine (or more) with their meal.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at this restaurant.
Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe is a local restaurant that accommodates both large and small groups.
Sit outside when the weather is fine — Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe has a lovely patio to enjoy a warm day.
Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe wants guests to dine in comfort, so save that stuffy suit for another date.
Call Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe for catering if you have a big event coming up.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
The restaurant is next to a parking lot, but drivers can also settle for street parking.
Don Pancho's Tex-Mex Cafe is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
Payment is simple and all major credit cards are accepted.
AM, midday, and PM meals are served at the restaurant, but supper takes the cake for best in show.
Visit Circle Restaurant for some true American comfort food smack dab in the middle of Deerfield's Deerfield.
Let the kids come too! Little ones love the food and atmosphere at this restaurant just as much as their parents do.
Circle Restaurant is a fine restaurant for those with large and small parties.
Folks tend to dress down at Circle Restaurant, so keep comfort in mind when heading to the restaurant.
Feeling a little shy? Carryout is available.
Circle Restaurant's diners can park in a neighboring lot just seconds away.
Commute by bike to Circle Restaurant and find easy bike parking.
Prices at Circle Restaurant are moderate — most diners plunk down about $30 per meal.
Catering to diners throughout the day (and night), Circle Restaurant serves AM, PM, and midday meals.
Indulge in all of your favorite American classics with a trip to the definitive standard in town at Circle Restaurant.
So round up your friends and head over to Circle Restaurant for a casual American meal.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of