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Western Suburb Unique Place?

  • s

I've been challenged to find someplace unique in the Western Suburbs to take a group to eat. The criteria are $15 average entree price and not a chain. Need some recommendations!


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  1. d
    dashboard diner

    Don't let the bar in the front throw you off.
    Walk into the dining room and you'd think you
    were in a supperclub in Wisconsin. Excellent
    Friday Fish Fry (they told me it's sole), had
    a butt steak once, it was fine.

    Mack's Golden Pheasant (.com)
    668 W. North Avenue
    630 279 8544

    1. It's sort of a chain - Heaven on Seven. They have a wonderful menu, and the food is affordable.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lindsay

        Heaven on Seven has really gone down hill in the past couple of years. We were there and received a pie of pie where the crust was as hard as a rock and then there another time where the softshell crab po boy was not even cooked inside.....

        1. re: Kev

          I have eaten at the Naperville Heaven on Seven numerous times and have never been disappointed. Although the service occasionally can be spotty, the food actually has been very good, in my experience.

          Some of my favorite dishes are the beef tenderloin tips, tilapia, scallops, or Cajun skirt steak (or flank steak, I can't remember), all from the specials menu.

          1. re: Kev

            I agree about Heaven on Seven, although my wife likes to stop there for the Missippi Mud Pie desert.

            Here are my ideas so far...any comments as I need to find a favorite.
            1. Cebu Restaurant (Downers Grove) - Never been, but I've heard is is good Asian food
            2. Uncle Bub's (Westmont) - I've heard it is good bbq and sort of unique
            3. Some Indian Place that I forgot the name of near Gematos off of Ogden & Jefferson (Naperville) - I've been here and it is excellent Indian food
            4. Clara's on 53 (Lisle) - this is a can't miss, but might not be unique enough

            Any help or suggestions are appreciated?


            1. re: SirEatsALot

              Indian place referred to is SWAGAT - Good food but very spicy.

              Other ideas:
              Cebu -not that great but quite a variety
              Bobak's - not a lot of atmosphere, but very good food (potato pancakes are phenomenal, oxtails are great when they have them) abundant food on buffet for $12 per person, includes soup but no drinks.
              Heaven on Seven - has had a great reputation, but even the original location is too high in price and not really worth it

              Best Recommendation: Joy Yee Noodle on Ogden - Iriquois Mall. Incredible variety of oriental noodle and other dishes at reasonable prices. Food always served hot and stays that way! Good fruit smoothies and other non-alcoholic drinks.

        2. I like the idea of Cebu, it's excellent Filipino food and not that expensive.

          Clara's seems to have lost a step since they opened a second location in downtown Naperville.

          How about the Polish buffet at Bobak's? It's technically a chain but it more than meets all your other requirements...

          The food is as idiosyncratic as the owner, but Chef Paul in Lisle (Bavarian/Bohemian) always has the potential to be terrific. Problem is, you won't know the level of quality until you walk in the door and look at the food on peoples' plates...


          1 Reply
          1. re: MarkH

            Clara's hasn't lost a step, it's lost a couple of flights. I used to be a huge fan, but had lunch there a couple of weeks ago, and it was almost unedible. I had lasagna, my wife had some other pasta. Both were very bad. I can't believe it is still the original family.

            Sad, it used to be great.

          2. The western suburbs cover a lot of territory, but my favorite place for a group is the Westmont Lao Sze Chuan. If someone in the group wants Beef with Broccoli, they can have it (and it may be the best they've ever had). If someone else wants Sour Pickle and Pork Kidney soup, they have that too (I'm afraid, I don't have personal experience to offer with the latter). The restaurant's website is http://www.laoszechuan.com. More reviews and suggested menu items below.

            Link: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

            1. My first thought also was Cebu. Unique & authentic, not to mention great food. Cab's in Glen Ellyn is also top-notch, but could be just notch out of your range. Shannon's (next to Cabs) is very cool if you're able to sit out in the protected outdoor area. What about Palmers or Chequers (both cool outdoor areas in LaGrange). Chequers is more of an english atmosphere and slightly better food than Palmers. Hope this helps!!

              1. Well, it's somewhat of a chain, but there's the Melting Pot for fondue. Fondue is always great for a group environment...

                Good Luck.... Let us know what you end up with.

                1. Jonathan's Steak house on Roosevelt (just east of 355) is an old favorite.
                  I prefer to go there rather then some of the more well known steak restaurant chains.


                  1. Greek Islands on 22nd St in Lombard/Oakbrook Terrace could work. So could Reza's for buffet dinner or nightly specials (Oakbrook Terrace). Lao Sze Chuan (Downers Grove)worthwhile as is Joy Lee (Naperville), but Joy Yee has no great atmosphere, just great variety of oriental dishes and fast service. You can't miss with Bohemian Garden on 75th St in Downers Grove: excellent bohemian food, lots of it, and most dinners are $10-12 including soup and dessert.

                    1. Heaven On Seven Still rocks..Clara's is great.

                      1. I have one,

                        In St. Charles there is what was allegedly an old speakeasy now called Al Capones Hideaway & Steak House. The food is pretty good, and the prices are ok(prices may be a little higher than $15 per plate, but ther are some options in that range.), there is an early bird menu as well. It is a little hard to find, but they have signs that lead you to a small restaurant set in an old house right on the Fox river,.. Kind of a unique place..

                        Al Capone Steakhouse
                        35w337 Riverside
                        St. Charles, IL.


                        Alot of the others listed above are either chains, or not very unique, Greek Islands is average, Heaven on Seven is not very good. Lao Szechuan is very good, but not very unique other than the menu. Clara's used to be good but has gone down hill, and I did not like Rezas at all.

                        All of the above are the humble opinions of someone who has lived in the western burbs for 35+ years.

                        1. I was at Clara's with a group of 12 just last weekend. Most of the people in the group were not from the area and they were all extremely happy with their meals. Several mentioned they would like to come back again. Great food, the service was good, and the wine selection was better than most. The best bang for the buck in the Downers Grove area for Italian if you ask me...

                          1. Reza's is probably your best bet. Entrees are big enough for 2 to share. Good and filling. Salmon and Filet mingon (sp) kabobs with dill or plain rice. Yum! Haven't been to the burbs location but the city locations are consistenly good. Don't get turned off by the soup..entrees are much better.

                            1. You indicate unique, so I am assuming you mean the setting, not the food. How about Walter Payton's Roundhouse in Aurora. The food is more typical (steaks,American entrees) but it is housed in a roundhouse and has a museum and brewery.
                              I also second swsidejim. People love going to Capone's Hideaway because it is "hidden " and it is fun to figure out how to find it. I would call it close to an old supper club in it's setting. I don't know how far west you want to go, but the Fisherman's Inn in Elburn, right off Rt 47, is so retro of a restaurant that it could be considered hip again. In look and menu, it is like a family restaurant from the early 70's. People really seem to like the trout from ponds on the property.