This is an old thread that won't die as long as Grayslake still hungers for a good restaurant.
Emil's has been open for a year in downtown Grayslake and is very popular and family friendly. It has typical bar food, but nothing outstanding. The pizza is OK, but uses cheaper part-skim mozzarella. Wraps are very good, burgers are nothing special. Avoid the Italian beef. They don't know how to make it right. They started out with a great microbrew selection, but now only offer a handful of premium beers and often are out of most of them, so check with the waitress.
Whitney Street has great breakfast. I love their pancakes and, at lunchtime, their chicken soup can't be beat. I have eaten there several times when in town for the weekend visiting friends and the food and service have both been very good every time.
I also concur with DoctorH regarding the wine bar. Grayslake is a small town. For a small town to have a great diner and something like a that wine bar, I think they are doing a-ok.
I guess The Vine wine bar on Center St is too new to have made it into this thread earlier. Wow! For a small town bistro, this is one nice place. Great intimate atmosphere, super friendly service. Very interesting menu at reasonable prices. Very tasty and nice presentation. Really good selections of wines and beers, including monthly featured micros. Went there this evening in a snow storm, and it was very cosy, with fireplace. Not a loud joint like the 2 bars down the street. So, yes, Grayslake has at least ONE decent restaurant.
Hate to disagree, but on 3 visits to The Vine it has been mediocre. It has great potential though. Overpriced for what you get and expensive drinks. If you search the internet, others agree; not a bad place but not that great either. I can make better bruschetta at home and serve it at the right temperature too.
Sorry, but there really aren't any good restaurants in Grayslake. Here are my opinions in no particular order:
Pat's Pizza - popular with the kids, extremely average. They claim to have the best pizza in Lake County, but it's crap compared to what you can get in Chicago and only average for local places.
Bill's Pub - popular with the kids, extremely average.
Last Chance Saloon - Quit going there because the place was always filthy.
That Pasta Place - Overpriced average Italian. Heard the owner screams at the help.
The Hardware Store - Haven't gone there in a while. More of a bar than a place to eat.
Country Squire - Looks nice, but has anybody under 60 eaten there lately?
Abel's - OK Mexican, and some locals like it. Good veggy burritos. Avoid the premixed marguaritas unless you want a nasty headache.
Tacos el Norte - A chain, but pretty good Mexican carryout.
Bake's Bar & Restaurant - Great variety of beers, haven't eaten there.
Lovely Thai - good reviews, but haven't tried it.
Tang's Chinese - Your best bet for Chinese in Grayslake.
Grayslake is very top-heavy when it comes to carry out pizza places, unfortunately none of it stands out. They all use imitation mozarella cheese food product. Lou Malnatti's recently opened, and is probably your best bet. Wayne's and Italian Ovens are OK if you prefer your pizza without much pizza sauce.
Don't make dining plans based on online directories for Grayslake. Many are years out-of-date and the some of the restaurants are long gone.
For better dining try Libertyville:
Mickey Finns for a sandwich and a microbrew.
Morgans for a burger and a beer if you are a smoker.
The Firkin - One of the best local dining choices. Great beers, great food.
The Tavern - Same owners as the Firkin. Upscale for those special occassions. Probaly one of the best local places for fine dining.
Want French? Try Cafe Pyrennes in Vernon Hills.
If someone opened a family-friendly place in Grayslake with great food it would be a goldmine.
re: Central Lake County living
I have two Tacos El Norte near me and agree with you that they're pretty good. Both places have nice seating areas which is a plus.
The husband and I went to Cafe Pyrennes about a year ago and were not thrilled. The food was decent, but there was a really weird vibe to the place. I think it was just that some of the details like service and atmosphere were not really being paid attention to. We have no intention of going back.
While the Tavern seems to enjoy a good reputation, it seems that everyone we've talked to who's actually dined there has had the same experience that we have. First of all, the dining room is nearly empty and almost deadly silent, your server is constantly disappearing, plus the food is high priced and mediocre. If we're going to spend that kind of money, we'd much prefer to go to D&J Bistro in Lake Zurich. It's located in a little strip center on the SE corner of Rt. 12 and 22. The place is a bit hard to find right now because of construction around that area, but the food is so good and the service is wonderful.
Firkin is great and is becoming one of my favorite places to go for a casual evening out. I like Mickey Finn's too, but it's a bit louder and the menu is more "basic".
We lived in Grayslake for a while and there really isn't a lot there. Tang's does have good Chinese, but with all the new construction going on up that way, you'd think there'd be some Chow-worthy places popping up. I agree about the messiness of some of the restaurants...yuck.
Agree Firkin is one of the best for a casual dinner. Tavern has been good on Saturday nights, but you are not the first to say it was average. We are so starved for good places compared to the city, almost anything that tries to appear upscale seems great.
Haven't been to Pyrennes in a while, so maybe it's gone downhill. I know a few VH companies in the area are discouraging their employess from going out for lunch and that's gotta be killing the local restaurants.
If D&J Bistro in Lake Zurich is still good we'll give it a try. Thanks for mentioning it.
Hopefully more business will come this way, but it will take a change in attitude with the local government. Grayslake and Lake County are very anti-business according to people who have businesses here. They want to protect the old-time businesses and keep newcomers out.
Our favorite local Mexican restaurant is in Wauconda. The name has officially been changed to La Cueva, but the sign that you see from the road may still say Dos Hermanos. Not sure if they've changed that yet. It's just a Mom & Pop kind of place, but the food is very good and they have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
La Cueva Mexican Cuisiane
461 W Liberty St, Wauconda, IL 847-526-1725
Duke's Grill in Wauconda has an excellent Friday
Fish Fry. Inconvient for Me, way closer for You.
I would pick up the North version of Entertainment
2006 coupon book. Seems like they got a bunch
of restaurant offers in Your neck of the woods.
476 W. Libery St.
come as you are, you can eat in your car