In this edition of Tasty Tuesdays, we take a look back at Lake County’s five oldest eateries and drinkeries.
Lake County is nearly 200 years old and has several communities that are 130 years of age and older.
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With these cities and villages’ longevity, you have to believe various culinary favorites are similar in age. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner you’re searching for, Lake County is home to a lively restaurant scene bursting with cuisine-making tradition.
Support local as we feed the economy through March 7 during Lake County Restaurant Rally. Stuff yourself and feel good about it.
Here are the five oldest restaurants in Lake County as we unhitch our belt buckle in this installment of Tasty Tuesday.
Honorable Mention: Blarney Island in Antioch (inception in the early 1900s)
Located a mile offshore, the island is party central. The island bar and restaurant serve a little taste of the Key West located in the land of lakes. History has informed us that Blarney Island has been a fixture in Lake County since 1900 (however, it is unclear when the island actually opened). According to the Chicago Reader, Blarney was a houseboat of fiestas that floated on the Fox River. Since then, Blarney has become a staple of Lake County and is the Florida of Illinois during the summertime. If you can’t make it to the sunshine state, this is the place to be. Take the shuttle boat service from Port of Blarney with a Caribbean-type feel or simply navigate your personal boat out on the Chian O’ Lakes and park your vessel.
Blarney Island, 27843 W. Grass Lake Rd., Antioch.
Honorable Mention: Long Grove Confectionery Co. in Long Grove (1975)
This is the old factory where chocolatey divinity is born. The magical world of cocoa where sweet bliss is created opened its doors in 1975. The confectionery facility began as a retail store around the U.S. Bicentennial, which looks like an 1800s schoolhouse. The sweet treat company is known for its mouthwatering and signature piece, the Myrtle®, the confectionery also owns a factory in Buffalo Grove (built-in 2001), a Nut & Candy Factory Store (opened in 2016) and a Chicago location. The Long Grove Confectionery Co. proudly continues the dessert tradition with a menu containing other types of chocolate, barks, brittles, caramels, pretzels, peanut butter cups and so much more.
Long Grove Confectionery Co., 114 Old McHenry rd. Long Grove. Long Grove Nut & Candy Factory Store, 581 Bonner Rd., Wauconda. Long Grove Factory Store & Tours, 333 Lexington Dr., Buffalo Grove. Chicago Factory Store, 3407 N. Kimball Ave., Chicago.
Miller’s Dog N Suds is the home of the Coney dog and their famous creamy root beer. The Ingleside drive-thru-styled eatery is a four-generation, family-owned business that recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017. A little touch of the past is still relevant today because you can’t pass up a delicious hot dog. Miller’s Dog N Suds regularly hosts concerts and classic car nights as well. At one point, there were 600 locations of the restaurant. Currently, 14 Dog N Suds are still in operation with one other Lake County location (Grayslake). Other items on the menu at the iconic restaurant include Texasburgers, corndogs, cheese dogs, chicken sandwich and their shake of the month. Miller’s Dog N Suds is open from May through October.
Miller’s Dog N Suds Drive-In, 517 Washington St., Ingleside.
The story begins with Bob “Lindy” Lindstrom, a Chicagoan that had a passion for boating. After taking his family to and from Wauconda frequently, Lindy sought to fulfill his dream of turning an old boathouse into Lindy’s Landing in 1965. The building was originally built in 1908 and was equipped with a small bar, candy counter and two pinball machines. Open year-round, the facility features a beach in its backyard, a boat launch, a lakeside dining area, volleyball nets, an annual cardboard regatta race, fireworks and a slew of other seasonal events. Lindy’s delectable eats include burgers, seafood, sirloin medallions, macaroni, jambalaya, chicken piccata, rock salt prime rib, and a plethora of other fare-favorite items. The Wauconda business celebrated its half-century birthday in 2015. Lindy’s Landing is closed at the moment and will reopen soon.
Lindy’s Landing, 115 Park St., Wauconda.
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. Since its inception in the late 1950s, the Mundelein restaurant has achieved numerous accolades for its eats. Kick back, munch on some peanuts and toss your shells wherever you want. The Mundelein eatery also has a second location in Third Lake called Bill’s Pub North.
Bill’s Pizza & Pub, 624 S. Lake St., Mundelein.
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The vintage Waukegan pizzeria serves thin-crust pies, toasted subs, wings and sandwiches like Chicago-style Italian beef. The facility is structured like a Quonset hut utilized by the United States Navy in the 1940s. Experience a 1950s-style restaurant complete with checkerboard flooring, classic bar stools and chairs and old-fashioned tunes playing on the jukebox. The Lake County staple has been locally-owned and operating since 1946. Quonset Pizza was also recommended on the 2020 list by Restaurant Guru.
Quonset Pizza, 2602 Grand Ave., Waukegan.
As the oldest restaurant/drinking hole in Illinois (and probably in the top 10 oldest in the US), The Village Tavern has been in continuous operation since 1849. In a classic roadhouse fashion, this family-owned restaurant 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. In this vintage area stands a massive 35-foot mahogany bar, which survived Chicago’sGreat McCormick Place Fire’ in the 1960s. The warm and friendly ‘pub’ atmosphere of this classic restaurant attracts locals and tourists alike. There is live entertainment six nights a week. The 19th-century eatery is known for its great steaks, half-pound Angus beef hamburgers, hearty sandwiches, broasted chicken s and fish fry. You have to try their prime rib as well on Saturday nights. There are so many historical nuggets in this Long Grove mainstay; watch the video above to learn more.
The Village Tavern, 135 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove.
Lake County’s Oldest Restaurants 25 Years and Older
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- Chessie’s Restaurant in Barrington (1978) INFO»
- Townee Square in Libertyville (1986) INFO»
- Glunz Family Winery & Cellars in Grayslake (1992) INFO»
- Dover Straits in Mundelein (1978) INFO»
- Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville (1992) INFO»