Mom and Pop Eateries to Visit During Lake County Restaurant Rally 2021

Seven days remaining in Lake County Restaurant Rally. We decided to take a look at the mom and pop eateries to visit during this foodie festival.

The Lake County pulse is a rhythm started by its mom and pop restaurants, shops and services. The independent small businesses give the land of lakes its vibrancy.

Whether it’s a traditional home-cooked meal, a unique twist on international cuisine or something innovative and trendsetting, Lake County’s mom and pop eateries cover the menu spread.

Click here to learn more, visit one of these mom and pop eateries and feed the economy through March 7 and beyond. Feel good about stuffing yourself!

Bill’s Pizza & Pub in Mundelein/Bill’s Pub North in Third Lake


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Devour the pizza and spit out the peanut shells on the floor. Bill’s Pizza & Pub is a family-friendly restaurant, since 1957, with a unique, comfortable, rustic, Northwoods-inspired dining room with incredible wildlife mounts. The world’s renowned first double-decker and famous thin-crust pizzas are outstanding! Their menu also has delicious sandwiches and desserts. The atmosphere is relaxed, the beer is cold and served in a frosty mug, and the food is excellent. Both locations are indoor dining and  for carryout.

Bluegrass Restaurant in Highland Park


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A lifer in the restaurant business Jim Lederer has spent over 30 years in the restaurant business. Lederer went out on his own later in his career and created a concept for the American southern cuisine eatery, Bluegrass Restaurant. Located on the west end of Highland Park, Bluegrass is a true dining destination. Blending Southern hospitality eats, this American restaurant and bar feature plates of seafood, salads, barbecue meats, an array of delicious libations and more.

Bonta Pizzeria & Restaurant in Lincolnshire


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Spaghetti alla Carbonara Made the traditional Roman way with guanciale!

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Antonella and Nunzio Granito know Italian cuisine. The husband-wife duet grew up in Salerno, Italy. A business surrounded by the idea of utilizing a brick oven is not far fetched, as the couple used to make pies in their family’s garage oven from their motherland.  The Lincolnshire eatery is, of course, an Italian restaurant. The deli and market serving lunch and dinner is highlighted by subs, soups, salads entrées, pastas, steaks, wood-burning brick oven pizza and calzone. The fare is prepared with fresh imported and local ingredients and gives you that neighborhood taste imported from the Granitos hometown.

Chessie’s Restaurant in Barrington


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Dine local Chessie’s is OPEN Tuesday-Sunday 4pm-9pm Dine-In, Outdoor Dining, Curbside Carryout and Delivery!

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Chessie’s was constructed near Barrington’s former train station and features dining in a vintage Illinois Central railroad dining car – a 1920s Pullman Train. Chessie’s is named after the Chessie System Inc – a holding company that owned the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in the 1970s. The menu ranges from appetizers to salads, sandwiches, pasta, fresh fish and USDA-choice steaks. The Barrington restaurant has been serving decadent eats since 1978 and is one Lake County’s longest standing restaurants.

The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee


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#MondayMotivation served up at #thechocolatesanctuary in #gurnee!

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It’s like living in cocoa heaven. The Chocolate Sanctuary makes most of their dishes with the magical cocoa bean. Whether you are munching on their cocoa infused barbecue sauce on their lollipop chicken pops, snacking on beef satay skewers with cocoa peanut chili sauce or chomping on the sanctuary’s chopped salad with chocolate vinaigrette, expect big things with everyone’s favorite cocoa treat somehow infused on your plate.

Chrissoulas Restaurant in Libertyville

The MainStreet Libertyville eatery features Greek and Mediterranean cuisine highlighted by octopus, pastitsio, moussaka, souvlaki, salads and a selection of 30 Greek vinos. The chef brothers, Nick and Theo Dimitriou have a combined 20+ year career in the culinary industry. The brothers stay curious and prepare new innovative dishes always while being mindful of the changing seasons and utilizing local ingredients to put out an exceptional product.

Dangela’s Dumplings in Libertyville

The Libertyville eatery specializes in Chinese cuisine. The traditional and authentic restaurant also features a variety of dumplings, including shrimp, pork and Chinese chives, beef and onion, pork and celery, zucchini and egg, as well as vegetable side options. The family-owned restaurant folds goodness and happiness in each dumpling. Dangela’s Dumplings is open for cindoor dining, arry-out and delivery through Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash. The Libertyville hotspot is also providing frozen dumplings with cooking instructions.

Dover Straits in Mundelein

This Mundelein seafood staple and one of the land of lake’s eldest nautical fare establishments is Dover Straits. Famous extensive menu of seafood flown in daily, Dover Straits also offers premium steaks, pasta dishes and other excellent selections for the most discerning diner. Since 1978, the starboard restaurant is satisfied bellies across the Land of Lincoln.

El Puerto Mexican Restaurant in Fox Lake


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Happy Cinco de Mayo! #cincodemayo #shoplocal #supportlocalbusiness #margarita

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El Puerto translates in Spanish to the word port. Saul Moya, the proprietor since 2001, started as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant in Chicago, and now he runs the show utilizing all of his own recipes. This authentic Mexican restaurant has a beautiful scenic view and is located on Nippersink Lake, connected to the Chain O’Lakes. Watch a beautiful sunset on the Chain while enjoying the best Margarita in Lake County. The menu includes Enchiladas, Chimichangas, sizzling fajitas, steak, seafood, burritos, combination platters and a variety of drinks, desserts and obviously tacos. Their three taco meal is served with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and your choice of ground beef, chicken or steak. The platter also comes with Mexican rice and beans. The Fox Lake Restaurant also serves taco salad with your choice of ground beef, chicken or steak topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole. The restaurant offers three indoor dining rooms, a seasonal outdoor patio and a full bar with unique homemade drinks. Come by land or boat. Come rain or shine, you will be able to sit out in the patio under the canopy, indoor  or pick up to go.

Green Town Tavern in Waukegan


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Named after storied-Waukeganite Ray Bradbury’s fictional town, Green Town Tavern is the city’s local hang out spot that distributes an exceptional array of drinkables and fare. Since the public health crisis began, the City of Progress neighborhood tavern opened an extension of the eatery called GreenTown on the Rocks that hugs Lake Michigan so patrons can get a panoramic view while enjoying some tunes and booze.

Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake

This downtown Grayslake pub serves innovative brews, modern American cuisine, locally-sourced craft spirits and top-notch draft wines all handcrafted in-house. Light the Lamp has 14 craft suds drafts created internally. Besides libations, the hockey-themed also offers unique meals, including burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, shared plates and desserts. For those who aren’t beer lovers, the seven-year-old Grayslake brewpub also offers tap wine. Besides libations, the hockey-themed also offers unique meals, including burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, shared plates and desserts. Some of Light the Lamp’s signature suds include the Red Line Ale (amber ale), Sin Bout Stout (oatmeal stout) and the 1980 Miracle American Pale Ale Kick back, relax and let that lettuce down.

La Casa de Samuel in Waukegan

The Waukegan eatery serves authentic Mexican cuisine. All dishes are served with handmade corn tortillas fresh of the griddle to the table. The Waukegan Main Street restaurant’s highlighted eats include Pollo en Mole Estilo Guerrero (chicken in house-made mole sauce), Filete Gourmet (Bacon wrapped beef tenderloin filet with ham and chihuahua cheese), Chiles en Nogada (Poblano peppers stuffed with mincemeat, walnut cream and pomegranate), Cabrito Estilo Monterrey (grilled goat served with guacamole, cowboy beans and pasilla sauce), Filete Oaxaqueño (catfish filet in a banana leaf with zucchini squash blossom, chihuahua cheese and guajillo sauce), Platános Flameados (flamed bananas cooked with kahlúa, tequila Gran Manier and ice cream) and Nieve Frita (fried ice cream). Their two signature tacos include taco de cecina (guacamole, pico de gallo and beans) and taco de Lengua. La Casa de Samuel’s antojitos can be served with steak, chicken, pork or squash blossoms. It came with great sadness to hear the news of the creator of this phenomenal restaurant, Samuel Linares passed away due to COVID-19. His legacy lives on through his mastermind recipes and delectable cuisine.

The Lodge of Antioch

This family-owned American pub and restaurant with a Northwoods-theme serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with an array of mouth-watering dishes. The Lodge of Antioch’s delectable menu features hearty salads, seafood, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, ribs, homemade cheese curds and more.

Main Street Social in Libertyville

Independently-owned and operated Main Street Social opened in 2017. The restaurant, located in downtown Libertyville is a restaurant and bar that puts a twist on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Their menu features housemade portions of pasta, fresh seafood, bountiful salads, meat and cheese boards, delectable desserts and more. Besides the innovative dishes made from scratch, the MainStreet Libertyville eatery provides fine wines and craft libations.

Mambo Italiano in Mundelein

For 15 years, Mambo Italiano Ristorante has been keeping Italian tradition alive for the generations to come by specializing in traditional styles of Italian Cuisine. Weekly, features highlight new menu renditions developed by the Cardone family. Every meal is prepared with care and the freshest ingredients. Mambo Italiano has been featured on Check Please!, and has been voted the Best Italian Restaurant in Mundelein, Vernon Hills and Libertyville by Open Table diners. Mambo Italiano also serves baked mostaccioli, chicken Vesuvio, chicken Limone, eggplant parmigiana, sausage and peppers, soups, salads, veggies and gluten-free options. Make sure you head to co-proprietor Briana DiTommaso’s father’s winery (Rudy) in Long Grove called Valentino Vineyards (a member of the Lake County Libation Trail).

Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville


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Breakfast burritos 🌯 @Mickey_Finns🍺🍺🥞🥞🍳🥯🥓#bruch

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The Libertyville Irish pub and brewery is Lake County’s first craft brewhouse. The Lake County Libation Trail is a MainStreet Libertyville hot spot serving world-class brews. However, they’re also known for its burgers, wings, chopped salads and various other eats. In addition to their beer garden and dine-in services, the Libertyville brewery will still be providing carryout and curbside pickup. Check out their A Tribe Called Quest themed Can I Kick It IPA, their Pineapple Express Double IPA, Cerveza Lager and collection of other inspired brews. In 2019, Mickey Finn’s Brewery just celebrated its 25th anniversary. They produce about 1,000 barrels of suds annually and have served over 5.3 million pints of the adult beverage since 1994.

Miramar Bistro in Highwood

The rustic Highwood staple is a combination of traditional French bistro and Cuban cuisine. The family-owned eatery named after a Havana, Cuba suburb provides a delectable menu and delightful experience. The menu features divine appetizers, pasta, seafood (known for their oysters) burgers and more. Miramar is open for indoor, alfresco and carry out dining.

Wild Onion Brewery & Banquets in Lake Barrington

This local favorite has been a staple in southwestern Lake County since 2003. The brewhouse creates handcrafted beers and hearty comfort food. The Lake Barrington brewery’s philosophy is being firmly grounded with a passion and respect for many of the world-class beer styles that exist in today’s brewing renaissance. The Onion Pub’s signature brews include the Misfit American IPA, the Hop Slayer Double IPA and Beggar’s Brown (English-style). The brewpub’s menu is highlighted by soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, seafoods and more.

Park Street Craft Kitchen and Bar in Mundelein


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Quote of the Day…

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The Mundelein kitchen and bar recently changed hands in ownership: Nora and Paul Arroyo as they purchased the eatery in November 2017. The menu is updated seasonally and evolves the new culinary experience for guests on each visit. The South American style menu features soups, salads, a slew of unique entrees and housemade desserts. The downtown Mundelein establishment offers fresh takes on vintage Peruvian plates.

Primo Italian American Cuisine in Gurnee

Primo Italian American Cuisine is Lake County’s dining hot spot with five-star ratings across the board. The Gurnee establishment’s menu includes salads and sandwiches, pasta, seafood, steaks and much more. The Gurnee establishment boasts an array of Daily Herald Reader’s Choice Awards. The jam-packed menu is complemented by a wine list of 100+ flavors.

Quonset Pizza in Waukegan


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The vintage Waukegan pizzeria serves thin-crust pies, toasted subs and Chicago-style Italian beef. The facility is structured like a Quonset hut that was utilized by the United States Navy in the 1940s. The Lake County staple has been locally-owned and operating since 1946.

Ravinia Brewing Co. in Highland Park

The Highland Park brewery features a variety of beers in addition to Mexican street fare like tacos, burritos, salads and more. Your tasty Tuesday is now paired with brew and southwest cuisine. The brewpub was recognized for the “Best Beer Garden” by the North Shore Choice Awards. A collection of their trademark libations includes the Flight of the Rooster Saison, the Steep Ravine IPA and the Baldwin Porter.

Route 41 Roadhouse in Wadsworth

Based in Wadsworth, Route 41 Roadhouse takes great pride in being a family-owned and family-focused restaurant offering a casual dining and bar experience. Newly-remodeled and under new ownership, Route 41 is excited to serve the beautiful people of Wadsworth and the surrounding communities. Stop by and check out their daily food and drink specials. At this time, the Wadsworth eatery is providing curbside pickup and delivery services.

Salutos Pizza & Pasta in Gurnee


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Salutos Italian spinach #chitown #chicagofoodauthority #eeeeeats

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Salutos, a favorite Italian restaurant in Gurnee, draws residents from various local communities. The restaurant features a two-story bar, a large dining room with booths and a private banquet meeting room. Famous for their homemade pasta and the “secret recipe” salad dressing, Salutos has been a hit in northern Lake County since 1990. This full-service restaurant’s claim to fame is the pizza, pasta and courteous service. From their delectable appetizers like Artichoke Heart Fondue, Toasted Ravioli and so much more; to their homemade sauces and plates of pasta; to their pizza, either thin, pan or stuffed, everyone will find something to devour on their menu.

The Shanty in Wadsworth


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Red Wine & Roasted Chipotle Cheddar Tater Tots! 🍷🥔 #shantytowne #wadsworth #outdoorseating #indoorseating

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The Shanty has been featured on two Food Network shows, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” featuring Guy Fieri and “Triple D Nation.” The Wadsworth restaurant just recently expanded by quadrupling the size of its facility. The Lake County Restaurant Week participant is highlighted by their whiskey shrimp, tequila and orange grilled salmon, premium hand-cut aged steaks, organic goat cheese wontons and an array of other delectable dishes. Visit the eatery during restaurant week in late February/early March or any day of the week to pamper your taste buds. Take a walk in the past with restaurateur and owner Dimitri Kallianis. His family also owns Captain Porky’s.

Townee Square in Libertyville


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Delightfully delectable would be a way to phrase nearly 35-year-old breakfast and lunch staple on MainStreet Libertyville. Townee’s got flapjacks for days. The “home of the double egg order,” is your classic, cozy and comfy diner. Besides the buttermilk flavor, Townee Square also serves chocolate chip, rainbow (with M&Ms), and of course, a Mickey Mouse pancake. To get your full taste of autumn, Townee also serves some mean pumpkin silver dollars. Don’t forget to include bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pecans or walnuts if necessary. Peruse the rest of the menu for an exceptional amount of treats. Townee Square is open for carryout and indoor dining at this time.

The Village Tavern in Long Grove

As the oldest restaurant/drinking holes in the state of Illinois (and probably in the top 10 oldest in the US), The Village Tavern has been in continuous operation since 1849. This family-owned restaurant, in a classic roadhouse fashion, has been a favorite watering hole in Lake County for generations. A spacious dining room and antique bar area preserve the establishment’s rustic authenticity. The 19th-century eatery is known for their great steaks, half-pound Angus beef hamburgers, hearty sandwiches, broasted chicken and fish fry. You have to try their prime rib as well on Saturday nights. The Long Grove mainstay is open for indoor dining and carryout currently.

The Vine Martini & Wine Bar in Grayslake

The Grayslake martini and wine bar creates clever libation concoctions but doesn’t skimp on the suds. The Vine offers an array of items and specializes in tapas.  The bar/restaurant also features live music acts regularly ranging over a wide variety of genres. The downtown Grayslake mainstay oozes cool vibes.

Tony Cannoli in Mundelein

When you got to a sweet tooth that needs remedy, one treat that is full of flavor is cannoli. Holy moly, that man Tony knows his ps and qs about cannolis. The Mundelein specialty confectionery shop is a mason of traditional and unconventional cannolis. The cannoli chap also teaches classes.

Zin Gastropub in Lake Zurich

A unique, hip and relaxed urban upscale GastroPub in Lake Zurich. The mission of this eatery is to support local farms, distillers and beer makers with their farm-to-table cuisine. Its menu is highlighted by boards, flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups and more. Eighty percent of their fare is locally sourced and brought fresh on a consistent basis.

For more information about the Lake County Restaurant Rally, continue here. To learn more about mom and pop eateries to visit in the land of lakes, click here. 



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