At Timbers Steakhouse and Seafood, chefs craft dinners from a menu of surf-and-turf classics paired with all-American eats. Appetizers include traditional pub fare such as cheese fries, garlic mushrooms, and chicken wings in flavors such as buffalo, garlic, and mango habanero. Classic caesar, chef's, and spinach salads pave the way for burgers made from 100% ground sirloin. Pounds of snow-crab legs arrive with a coverlet of melted butter, whereas sautéed tilapia comes encrusted in a combination of panko and pecans.
Steak is, of course, the main event. Hand-cut rib eyes, filets mignons wrapped in bacon, and thick, unyielding portions of porterhouse that clock in at 20 ounces are dusted in the restaurant’s secret spice blend and charbroiled to order. Chefs also slice off portions of slow-cooked, tender prime rib served with horseradish sauce upon request.
In addition to the regular menu, Wednesday evenings boast a selection of Mexican food such as tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, and Thursday shows off pasta prowess with Italian favorites. Although most dinners unfold in the spacious lower-story dining room, Timbers also makes the most of its attic. The restaurant's upper-story A-frame loft houses a banquet facility equipped with seating for up to 120, with custom menus, full bar service, DJs, and photographers available.
Swing by Sandra D's Garden Cafe in Auburn for your next meal.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
Bring the whole family to this restaurant, where kiddos are welcomed with open arms.
At Sandra D's Garden Cafe, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Your group can sit comfortably at Sandra D's Garden Cafe, a local restaurant.
Slip into something more comfortable before dining at Sandra D's Garden Cafe, where dress code calls for business casual.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
Patrons can park in a lot near Sandra D's Garden Cafe or take advantage of the generous street parking.
Cyclists are in luck. Sandra D's Garden Cafe provides bike parking.
Sandra D's Garden Cafe knows how to put a smile on your face
the fairly-priced fare is easy on your taste buds as well as your wallet.
Major credit cards are accepted as a form of payment, so patrons are advised to charge responsibly.
Chow down on breakfast, lunch, or dinner fare at Sandra D's Garden Cafe — they're open for all three meals.
Wash down curry with some cold lassi at St James Restaurant — this Indian eatery is a must-try.
The gluten-free and low-fat fare at St James Restaurant will leave you happy and full.
Pick your poison and toast your evening — drinks are also served here.
Children are more than welcome to dine at this restaurant, where there's something for everyone on the menu.
No suit, no problem! The dress code at laid-back St James Restaurant is ultra casual.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of St James Restaurant to your next party or event.
Don't fuss with street parking. We've got some parking available.
St James Restaurant provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
If you go out for a nice meal, it doesn't need to cost $100, come treat yourself at St James Restaurant.
If you're more of an evening diner, you're in luck. Though all three meals are served, the restaurant's dinner menu will blow you away.
So stop by St James Restaurant today and treat yourself to a dish that features the many flavors of India.
For that fresh, out-of-the-oven feel, Pizza Hut serves mouthwatering pizza with a down-home feel.
Fear not you gluten-free or low-fat eaters, you'll have plenty of choices here.
Round out your meal with a little tipple — this pizzeria has a terrific drink list, including beer, wine, and more.
The perfect place to take the kids, dining out at this pizzeria won't cost you a sitter.
Love the food at this pizzeria but don't have the time to stay? You can pick up your food to eat when you're ready, or have them deliver straight to your home.
Take the car and arrive promptly to dinner; parking is plentiful, so don't worry about setting aside time to search for a space.
Bike parking is quick and easy at Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut s moderately-priced platters and top-notch taste bring foodies back to Pizza Hut time and time again.
Catering to diners throughout the day (and night), Pizza Hut serves AM, PM, and midday meals.
There's nothing tastier than a casual pie on a Friday night, so make plans to go to Pizza Hut this weekend.
When you are craving a little taste of Italy, make your way over to Pizza Hut and indulge in a fresh and flavorful pizza.
The Italian Grille is serving you great Italian cuisine in an atmosphere you'll love.
Keep your health in check at The Italian Grille, a local restaurant with endless healthy menu items.
Pick your poison and toast your evening — drinks are also served here.
Don't stay cooped up on a beautiful summer day! At The Italian Grille, you can dine outdoors on their lovely patio.
Between the music and the crowds, be prepared for a lot of noise at this restaurant.
You can also grab your food to go.
Call The Italian Grille for catering if you have a big event coming up.
Take your vehicle to dinner
nearby parking is plentiful and will not pose a problem for drivers looking to dine.
Bicyclists will also find lots of space to safely lock up their bikes.
Prepare to spend about $30 per person when dining at The Italian Grille.
The menu at The Italian Grille includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner — stop by for your favorite meal.
So give your taste buds a delicious dose of Italian cooking from The Italian Grille today.
Swing by McDonald's for a quick burger and fries.
Enjoy a low-fat or gluten-free meal at McDonald's, a local favorite.
For no extra charge, utilize McDonald's' free wifi.
At McDonald's, your large or small party can easily enjoy a meal.
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy this restaurant's cooking from the comfort of their own home.
McDonald's is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
The parking options near McDonald's are quick and painless.
Make use of the safe and efficient bike parking at McDonald's.
You can stop by at almost any time, since McDonald's offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Swing by the restaurant at literally any hour — it's open 24 hours a day.
Remember McDonald's next time you're craving a hearty burger in seconds flat. A quick delicious meal is right around the corner.
Pick up a tasty lunch or dinner from McDonald's and enjoy the convenience of quick and flavorful meal options.
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