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Downtown Naperville & Naperville Area Restaurants

janybird Jun 16, 2007 06:56 AM

If anyone has any questions on restaurants, nightclubs, events or entertainment going on in Naperville I would be happy to help out. I've lived here for over 35 years and keep up on what's going on in the area. ~Jane

  1. l
    libgirl2 Jun 16, 2007 08:02 AM

    Have you heard anything new about the Red Door Tavern?

    2 Replies
    1. re: libgirl2
      janybird Jun 16, 2007 10:49 AM

      As a matter of fact, yes! The Red Door Tavern RE-OPENED yesterday!
      I never heard officially why they closed down (could have been a liquor license issue but I'm not sure). For the next week they will be open for lunch and dinner however they may close a little earlier than normal until they get all their inventory back in stock. So it may be a good idea to call first to check things out during this coming week. (630) 961-0083

      1. re: janybird
        l
        libgirl2 Jun 16, 2007 01:04 PM

        Thanks for the news. Of course it just HAS to re-open the weekend after I went!!! Figures..... I will keep it in mind to call before I go neext time. Perhaps in a couple of weeks.

    2. manomin Jun 16, 2007 11:59 AM

      Wow, so you probably remember the Naperville of old. I left in 1977 but come back twice a year. Our house is right near the Riverwalk so it's great to walk to all the places downtown and not fight for parking. Do you know what the place is that is going into where the tile store was? This is by Timpano and where Bar Louie is. Have you been to Ted's Montana Grtil? I know, it's a chain but it's really good, I really liked their bison items.

      10 Replies
      1. re: manomin
        janybird Jun 16, 2007 06:25 PM

        Yes, I grew up on Gartner Rd and remember when Washington St. was 2 lanes, when the CeeBee's and Krogers stores were in downtown Naperville, the Last Fling was at Knoch Park (very near to where Ribfest is now), bowling at Sports Bowl (now the Barnes & Noble building) and a lot of other stuff. Ahhh the memories ;-)

        I work with Great Western Flooring during my day job and I'll see if they know who is going to be in their former space.

        My daughter actually works at Ted's Montana Grill and we have been there to eat a couple of times now. I honestly didn't particularly care for the taste of the bison although they say it is WAY better for you than beef. The bison steak looked just like "regular" beef, it was VERY tender, you could tell it had less fat in it and I did eat it all. I've heard the difference is due to the fact that bison feed on grass and cows feed on corn. It's not a HUGE difference in taste but enough for me to prefer the taste of beef over bison. I'm glad I tried it. I know someone who is absolutely nuts over the bison burger and has to have it every time they eat there. The one thing I really like about the food at Ted's is that it is brought in fresh and prepared in their kitchen daily and nothing is ever frozen except for the ice cream.

        1. re: janybird
          manomin Jun 17, 2007 02:10 PM

          I really enjoyed the bison burger at Ted's I did not like the squash casserole, too bready, I'm a squash purist so that's probably the reason. You really could tell the freshness involved at Ted's and we had the best server. She was SOOOOOOgood!
          She made the whole experience so positive and pleasant. I wish we had one here, we'll have to do with the bison we can buy at the store pre-packaged. BTW, I looked at your site, really nice!

          1. re: manomin
            janybird Jun 18, 2007 02:34 PM

            Thanks! I checked around a bit today and the only thing I found out was the name of the new place to be opened near Timpano's (where the Great Western Flooring store used to be). It's going to be "The Wild Rose". No one could tell me any details. I'm guessing either a flower shop, cafe or specialty boutique. If anyone else has any more info please post.

            1. re: janybird
              janybird Jul 28, 2007 08:27 PM

              Went by there tonight and found The Wild Rose to be a women's clothing boutique. There are plenty of food & drink places in that strip mall already. Another restaurant in that area would only cause more parking congestion in the evening. We found a parking spot in that lot tonight and had a great dinner at Timpano Chop House.

              1. re: janybird
                manomin Jul 30, 2007 07:28 PM

                Thanks for the update! I hope they have cute stuff. I really like Timpano, the food and service has always been great and even though we only come to Naperville twice a year they always recognize us and make us feel so welcome, happens at Hugo's too.

                1. re: manomin
                  janybird Jul 31, 2007 05:03 AM

                  Maybe its the dog days of summer or we just got lucky, but we were surprised to get a table at Timpano WITHOUT A RESERVATION last Saturday night without waiting. The food was excellent, love the atmosphere too.

                  1. re: janybird
                    r
                    RMA Jul 31, 2007 07:02 AM

                    You definitely got lucky to get a parking spot in that lot. Similarly, we walked into La Sorella at about 7:45pm on Saturday (expecting to find a 30-45 min. wait, which we would spend at the Rizzo's bar) and were immediately seated. Must be the dog days of summer.

                    We tried Timpano once and I thought it was just okay...Perhaps we'll have to give it another try, but I have a hard time deviating from Hugo's when we want to spend that much money in downtown Naperville.

                    By the way, Janybird, you may know more about this, but I heard that more (yes, more) retail shopping is coming to downtown Naperville (Banana Republic, etc.), and that a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse will occupy the same new "center."

                    1. re: RMA
                      janybird Jul 31, 2007 01:21 PM

                      Yes, another large building is planned for downtown Naperville at the corner of Main, Van Buren and Benton. I am very happy to hear that there will be more retail, we could use more of that. Along with Banana Republic and J. Crew, American Eagle is planned to be there (my college age daughter was happy to hear about that). The shopping in that part of town is already nice with Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor Loft and J-Jill and it appears it will only get better. I checked out Ruth's Chris Steakhouse website and it looks interesting as well. It would be nice to hear from others who have visited one in another city.

                      Here's a link more details and I believe there is a picture of the proposed building right on the home page: http://www.thenapervilleglancer.com (click on BIG STORY to view the article)

                      1. re: janybird
                        r
                        RMA Jul 31, 2007 02:50 PM

                        Thanks for the reply, Janybird. After my post, I happened to check out your website/blog and realized that you already had made a post regarding Ruth's Chris.

                        At any rate, I'm not sure about the need for more retail shopping (American Eagle, etc.) in downtown, but that's a debate for another day. As for Ruth's Chris...I've eaten at the one in Chicago many times, and we also have eaten at ones in other cities. I think it's great, but it has gotten mixed reviews (on this board, I believe). The specialty, of course, is a big filet sizzling in butter (not exactly healthy, but great). Their steaks are up there with Gibson's, Morton's, etc., in my opinion. They will be a big competitor for Hugo's (much more so than, say, Sullivan's), but they may be late to the party.

                        1. re: RMA
                          manomin Aug 1, 2007 10:14 AM

                          You're right about the debate delay on yet more cookie cutter stores. And I agree that Ruth's Chris might be too late for the party. I'm not sure it will affect Hugo's that much in that Hugo has those great deals on soups and salads and a much broader menu (in my opnion). I was forced to eat at a Ruth's Chris in Mauna Lani on the Big Island and I can say I've been to one........my favorite part of the night was when the server suggested adding on crab legs a special price of $31.95 and that they would be a great appetizer.......I can't recall ever spending that much on a single appetizer!

      2. r
        RMA Jun 18, 2007 08:10 AM

        Glad to hear that Red Door has re-opened (and only "temporarily" was closed).

        I was born in Naperville and have lived in Naperville or Lisle most of my life, so I, too, have seen the changes. For the most part, I like what's been done, but definitely feel that the area could use a few more unique, independent places. Unfortunately, the ones that have opened haven't made it or have closed -- Clara's at the Square, Elaine/10 West, Copa Cubana, Carzz, etc.

        I keep up with things too -- we've tried Ted's a few times. I actually like the bison burger; however, it doesn't taste that different from beef, IMO. I probably prefer it to the beef. We really like Ted's burgers, but kind of are annoyed by the popularity of the place (hour wait on a recent weeknight -- we ate at the bar), and the fact that it's another Schaumburg-esque chain right in the middle of downtown.

        Also, I have heard that the food at Tessa's (Jimmy Bergeron's restaurant, in the former Leonardo's/Brickhouse Pizza building) is just okay -- not great. We'll probably give it a try, eventually.

        5 Replies
        1. re: RMA
          s
          SirEatsALot Jun 18, 2007 01:01 PM

          I've ate at Tessa's. Their thing is huge portions. They have a bunch of pasta dishes on the menu and serve half portions which was pretty sufficent for myself. The food was good, but not steller by any means. Wine service was sort of spotty as when we went they didn't have a list of stuff by the bottle and had their wine server come over and talk to us. She did a decent job, but I prefer to know what is available. I don't descriminate with my wines and their might of been something that they had that was interesting that I would of tried instead.

          They also do family style stuff, but the per person price is a bit pricey ($25) for pasta. I'm sure you get all the apps and dessert and stuff. Be curious to hear if it is worth the while?

          1. re: SirEatsALot
            janybird Jun 21, 2007 08:09 PM

            I ate at Tessa's last night with a friend and I agree that it is just okay. The minute I walked in and saw the old brick walls I was immediately reminded of Leonardo's pizza that was housed there for years previously. Padded benches line the entire wall on each side of the long, narrow space with tables all lined up along side. (One side of the table has the padded bench, the other side has chairs). Tables and chairs fill in the center of the room. The food portions are good-sized. A half-order of the crab stuffed mushrooms came out on a platter with 6 fairly large (maybe 3" in diameter) mushrooms piled high with crab. They were good...and filling. We each had a "single" serving size entree and they were substantial and would satisfy even a big eater's appetite. Perhaps a little more flare was in order in the food presentation area. It was just "ordinary". Our entrees ranged from $11.00 to $13.00 (not bad at all). There is a full-service bar in the back. The restrooms are located way down the hall to the rear and down a staircase to the lower level. We thought the wait staff could use a little more polish but overall, not too bad for just having opened a couple weeks ago. Perhaps we'll go back in a month or two and to see how things shape up.

            1. re: janybird
              manomin Jun 22, 2007 10:19 AM

              When we were there they were building an outdoor upper deck, was that open? Do they serve lunch? It seems like Naperville is home now to a "Martini Wars"
              phenomenon.

              1. re: manomin
                janybird Jun 22, 2007 02:39 PM

                I am pretty sure that the whole building at 16 W. Jefferson is now complete. It was expanded and renovated completely. The three upper floors are used for banquets and meeting rooms and those who rent those areas have access to the terrace. The restaurant opens daily at 11am, including Sundays, and they are using their dinner menu at lunch for the moment but WILL have a lunch menu in a week or two.

                Speaking of martini's...I had an excellent chocolate martini at Jilly's after dinner at Tessa's and had a good time people watching and listening to their live band at a table right next to the open windows.

          2. re: RMA
            f
            food.fan Mar 5, 2008 06:56 PM

            I agree about the food at Tessa's being just OK. All Jimmy Bergeron has done is spent millions of dollars to present bar/grill food in a fancier setting. While the dining room is nice at Tessa's, it reminds one of an upscale Friday's, again, Jimmy's comfort zone. All in all, if you want good Italian, Tessa's is not the place to go. La Sorella and Rosebud are within walking distance and the new Maggiannoe's is now open near I-88.

          3. j
            jen Jun 24, 2007 08:26 PM

            Any suggestions for a good restaurant in downtown Naperville, reasonable prices (entrees around $15), good to sit and hang out, newer, and not too ethnic ( one of our parties doesn't like curry - I wanted to try that new Masala restaurant, but next time I guess)

            9 Replies
            1. re: jen
              s
              SirEatsALot Jun 25, 2007 11:18 AM

              Downtown Naperville is sort of tough for a good place - as you might know many of the places are offshoots of Chicago restaurants. Not much unique. Our favorite of the bunch is Francescas which is good Italian food - although there are probably a half dozen or more around the Chicago area. Other then that Hugo's might be a decent place. Their steaks are more then your $15 price range, but you can do fairly well with their sandwhiches and apps. Maybe grab a spot on the patio at Quigley's and just have some brews. Also, Bangkok Village is good, but most certainly ethnic.

              1. re: SirEatsALot
                manomin Jun 25, 2007 01:55 PM

                You're right about Hugo's. The steak sandwich is fabulous, although it is not on the
                dinner menu you can order it. I love their soups too, especially the lobster bisque and the daily clam chowder.

              2. re: jen
                janybird Jun 25, 2007 03:43 PM

                Maybe Rizzos would be a good place for you to try. It's a two story setup with a patio in the back. Here's a link to their menu http://www.rizzobar.com/Rizzo_front5-... They have live music every night during the summer and have a decent menu. I haven't eaten there (yet) but the food looked good as it went by :-). Another more casual suggestion would be Mongolian Barbeque which is on Washington St. right around the corner from Rizzos. It is a popular, fun place for dinner. They are a "make your own stir fry" place that could be just right to satisfy everyone's taste. Just remember to plan to wait if you go on the weekends. Check out the Riverwalk if you have a long wait and need something to do.

                1. re: janybird
                  j
                  jen Jun 25, 2007 07:32 PM

                  thanks for the suggestions. we'll look into them. has anyone heard about The Twisted Cork where La Piazza used to be by Trader Joe's? I drove by it a few weeks ago and it wasn't open yet.

                  1. re: jen
                    r
                    RMA Jun 26, 2007 06:50 AM

                    I believe that Twisted Cork is open, but we haven't been there yet...Will check it out shortly and report back. I second the Hugo's recommendation. They have great food and a pretty big menu with several options are in your price range. In my opinion, it's hard to beat.

                    I'd be careful with Mongolian BBQ...A long wait (1 hour or more) probably is the norm, based on my experience, and the place always seems overrun with teenagers. Maybe this is okay with you, but it's not my thing.

                    Finally, Rizzo's is an okay place for a drink, depending on how smoky it is (and believe me, it can be smoky). We've eaten there several times and the food is okay, though nothing great. I think you'd probably be better off dining elsewhere -- we usually do. I wasn't aware that they have live music...We were there last Saturday night and they did not have any.

                    1. re: RMA
                      s
                      SirEatsALot Jun 26, 2007 08:18 AM

                      Agree on Mongolian BBQ, sort of a fun place, but all the food seems to get comingled and all tastes the same. It is also a fairly large chain.

                      Maybe Heaven on Seven might work? Sort of a cool vibe, although it can get quite noisy and the tables are very close together. Cajun food, but stick to the items that seem more authetic Cajun (Gumbo and such).

                      I'm confused by Rizzo's. It is sort of blah.

                      We went by the Twisted Cork place early last week and it wasn't open. Said it would be opening on the 20th. I'd like to check it out. The menu looked interesting. One thing about Naperville is there isn't a truely good wine list anywhere (if there is please let me know!).

                      1. re: SirEatsALot
                        c
                        CJT Jun 26, 2007 09:30 AM

                        We've eaten several times at Rizzo's and disagree with your assessment. I am especially fond of the Cavatappi, which I had shortly after returning from a week in Rome. Found it to be as good as any pasta dish I had in Rome, and I've been back to Rizzo's for more. The rigatoni is also good, but I prefer the cavatappi. Wife ate the veal chop last visit and liked it a lot. I sampled it and agreed. Chef is creative with vegetable combinations he serves with different entrees. Try a few of the above and see what you think.

                        1. re: CJT
                          s
                          SirEatsALot Jun 26, 2007 01:29 PM

                          Rizzo's was doing a free Wednesday night wine tasting which was pretty cool. The wines that they tasted they discounted the glass/bottles prices. Very good deal.

                          I'll give the cavatappi a try. I will say that the entrees seem to be much better then the apps. Also, (I've posted further on this in another thread) but I do think Rizzo's suffers from an identity crisis. Dance club, bar, or fine dinning? Very odd having dinner with a bottle of wine and then all of a sudden it's a club.

                          1. re: CJT
                            r
                            RMA Jun 26, 2007 01:44 PM

                            Thanks for the info. We will give Rizzo's another try. Perhaps the kitchen has improved since our dining experiences there, shortly after they opened.

                            While I agree that Rizzo's suffers from a bit of an identity crisis (although the "dance club" seems to be confined to the upstairs, thankfully), my biggest complaint is that it can get very smoky in the lower level bar area.

                2. w
                  wak Aug 1, 2007 08:07 AM

                  Has anyone been to Masala Yangu?

                  http://www.masalayangu.com/index1.asp

                  1. m
                    monalisa73 Sep 6, 2007 11:47 AM

                    I have been trying to find out the name of a restaurant (and if it still exists) - maybe you can help.
                    It is an italian place and it was located in the old Naperville train station.

                    Thanks!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: monalisa73
                      m
                      markh Sep 6, 2007 12:33 PM

                      The place is named Buonaro's and I think it's still there.

                    2. e
                      esls Sep 6, 2007 12:04 PM

                      I am from out of town and will be in the Naperville area the week of 9/10/07. I am looking for a romantic private dining experience to celebrate a birthday with my special someone. I do not want to go into Chicago, but stay in the Naperville and the surrounding towns. Any type of cuisine will work, but thinking about steak. An added plus would be music/dancing. It would be a Tuesday evening and the price is very flexible.

                      I'm just trying to find the perfect romantic place, good food, good wine.

                      Since time is an issue, I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: esls
                        m
                        markh Sep 6, 2007 12:46 PM

                        "romantic private dining experience" and "music/dancing" would seem to be contradictory. Which one is more important to you? For my suggestions, I'm going to assume "romantic/private" is more important.

                        It would also help knowing which part of Naperville you will be staying. Naperville is a large city, often taking more than 30 minutes to drive from one end to the other.

                        If you're on the north end of Naperville, I'd suggest getting on I-88, exiting at Highland, and going to Sequel in Yorktown Center. Other options might be Bistro Monet in Glen Ellyn, Wildwood in Geneva, and Capitol Grille, also in Yorktown Center.

                        On the south end nothing is nearby, but Courtright's in Willow Springs is a possibility.

                        1. re: markh
                          e
                          esls Sep 6, 2007 04:20 PM

                          I didn't know Naperville was so big. I'm staying on Weaver Pkwy in Warrenville.

                          1. re: esls
                            m
                            markh Sep 6, 2007 07:01 PM

                            OK, that's what I suspected. I would suggest that you go to Sequel in Yorktown Center...get on I-88 going east, exit at Highland Ave, turn left from the ramp, and then turn right at the entrance to Yorktown Center. At the stopsign, turn left and follow the road around until you see a row of buildings on your left -- Sequel is the last unit.

                            My second choice would be Wildwood in Geneva. It has VERY good steaks and has several "nooks" which are perfect for a private, romantic dinner.

                            Sadly...given your requirements, there isn't a single place in Naperville that I would recommend...

                            1. re: markh
                              e
                              esls Sep 7, 2007 05:55 AM

                              Have you heard of Sullivan's? If so, what are your thoughts?

                              1. re: esls
                                m
                                markh Sep 7, 2007 07:50 AM

                                I've been to Sullivan's a couple times, thankfully on someone else's dime. Acceptable steaks, but very expensive for the quality. If you are willing deal with the parking hassles of downtown Naperville to go to Sullivan's, you're better off going to Hugo's, which is affiliated with Gibson's steak house in Chicago.

                                But...if steak is your primary focus, I would go to Capitol Grille in Yorktown Center. Factoring in the romantic/private atmosphere you desire, I would go to Wildwood in Geneva.

                                http://www.wildwoodsteak.com/index.aspx

                                1. re: esls
                                  n
                                  naperwino Sep 9, 2007 10:45 AM

                                  Sullivan's is a large chain with mostly horrible, pedestrian wines. After eating at one in Houston, I avoid it like a breakfast joint after church lets out.

                            2. re: markh
                              e
                              esls Sep 12, 2007 11:49 AM

                              Thank you so much for recommending Wildwoods. What a fantastic place. Service, food, wine, atmosphere was absolutely perfect. My boyfriend loved it. They brought out a dessert with a candle for him at the end.
                              The waiters were very knowledgeable about the wine. We weren't sure which one to choose, Two Hands Gnarling Dudes Shiraz was recommended and it was spectacular. A little pricey, but well worth the money, especially for a special occasion.
                              Thanks again...

                            3. re: esls
                              janybird Sep 6, 2007 05:41 PM

                              Riva Naperville would be my suggestion. It is in the area and would seem to be what you are looking for as far as dinner goes. http://www.stefanirestaurants.com/riva_naperville.htm

                              For music and dancing I would recommend Key Wester on Route 59. It's very lively in the bar and they have live bands. http://www.portillos.com/keywester/look/

                            4. Gelato_in_Roma Sep 7, 2007 07:10 PM

                              Has anyone heard anything about Tessa's in downtown Naperville. It was recommended to me but I haven't been able to find out much info on the place.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gelato_in_Roma
                                n
                                naperwino Sep 9, 2007 10:43 AM

                                Tessa's is decent. It's modeled after Maggiano's, (who's gluttony/family-style concept I hate,) but you don't have to eat family style there. They have some tasty pasta dishes, and the "half order" size turns out to be about 3 servings for me, and about just right for my husband. Their wine list has some gems, too.

                              2. janybird Sep 9, 2007 06:42 PM

                                The Naperville Wine Festival is being held this coming weekend on Friday, Sept. 14 & Saturday, Sept. 15. on the grounds of the Naper Settlement in Downtown Naperville. For those interested they have a website http://www.napervillewinefestival.com

                                According to their site they will be having:

                                Seminars/Demonstrations - Conducted by event sponsors, exhibiting wineries, Chicago area chefs, restaurateurs and specialty food shops.

                                Wine - The opportunity to sample from more than 200 wines from around the world. Learn about new and exciting varieties from the experts in a relaxed festival setting.

                                Food - Enjoy food from some of Naperville’s finest restaurants and caterers. Attend cooking demonstrations by some of the Chicago area’s top chefs and specialty food stores. Learn how to pair wines with food.

                                Music – Entertainment provided by top local talent including The Michael Heaton Band and the New Invaders. Blues • Lite Rock • Jazz

                                1. r
                                  robov Sep 13, 2007 09:27 AM

                                  Hmmm. As a longtime resident, my 2 cents is that while the Downtown Naperville once offered a sliver of interest or character, it has now become a place where rather uncreative,
                                  borish, and non-thinking persons congregate...by the thousands. And by thousands, I mean that I can't even navigate out of my neighborhood in a timely manner, thanks to the obnoxious traffic; leading to the highway by miles (this is also in thanks to what is going on with highway construction, of course).

                                  I'm uncertain if it is due to a zero percentage of customer loyalty or good ol' fashioned bad taste; but, most any business offering a good product at a good price, coupled with excellent service; absolutely cannot survive in the current economic climate around this area.

                                  My friends have all closed up shop; in their place: over priced and completely un-inspired food; and, in many cases, laughable service.

                                  You might brush my words aside; no one wants to hear disgruntled rumblings; I understand that you won't take my word for it. Also, take note, there's still a few good finds here and there. Bangkok Village is still a pretty darn good Thai establishment. Rosebud is great (if you can get past that "possibly not made on premises" flavor). Giardano's moved in, you can't go wrong with their Chicago Style pizza.

                                  But the atmosphere? The draw? As a resident, I understand that, next to Reykjavik, Naperville is the safest place on planet earth. Besides that point; I really don't see what people are attracted to.

                                  I've noticed mentioning of Ted's. In most cases, the concept of a wide-scale chain does not mesh so well with the proper operation of a fine, finer, or even casual plus dining experience. Ted's is an ultimate case in point; almost to the extent that it would be unfair to use that establishment as a comparison to a well operated restaurant. I gave their Naperville location a chance a good thrice times. On all occassions; food preperation and presentation was of Baker's Square quality. The service was obnoxiously clumsy (during slow hours). Furthermore, I had the chance to speak with one of the managers; she went into detail about the problems she was having with her staff members....non-sense of urgency, no desire to make an effort, whining, complaining, and an absolute lack of teamwork. After already experiencing what Ted's has to "offer", I wasn't really surprise by the information she relayed in my direction.

                                  I have worked in the service industry; running a successful restaurant is a good 60% marketing or high foot traffic. The other 40% is brainless: Provide good food (price is often not even a concern) and provide good service. Good food is at the hands of a chef or kitchen manager and their line cooks. Good service requires such little effort or wits that one shouldn't really have to put up with a horrendous experience, as it will most assuredly be the fault of management, based on either non-organized scheduling or misguided hiring capabailites.

                                  18 Replies
                                  1. re: robov
                                    m
                                    markh Sep 13, 2007 10:34 AM

                                    I mostly agree with you, though I would also put Rosebud in the same category as the others (Buca di Beppo IMO has slightly better food at MUCH lower prices). It seems any independent restaurant that opens in downtown Naperville does well for a few months, but once the "fad effect" wears off, they die a slow death. It's why pretty much the only restaurants in downtown Naperville are large chains, or outposts of Chicago restaurants.

                                    One comment about Ted's...to see the effect of downtown Naperville on a chain, go to their other location in the new Bolingbrook Promenade (on Boughton across the street from Ikea). Night and day difference! But you know what? Ted's in downtown Naperville is always packed. What does that say about the clientele?

                                    These days, the only times I'm in downtown Naperville is when I'm forced to be there (business lunches/dinners, etc). The lone upside has been that I can go to Penzey's after enduring a usually-mediocre, always-overpriced lunch!

                                    1. re: markh
                                      c
                                      CJT Sep 13, 2007 11:03 AM

                                      Raffi's in Fifth Avenue Station offers creative dishes at moderate prices. Try them for lunch or dinner, see what you think. A lot easier to park there than downtown Naperville.

                                      1. re: CJT
                                        s
                                        SirEatsALot Sep 13, 2007 01:09 PM

                                        While I do agree with you that the chains are the ones with the deep pockets and make it very tough for an independent to survive in downtown Naperville. Many of my favorites are now gone such as Elaine/10 West, Copa Cubana, and more recently the Red Door Tavern. It is disappointing as the current crop of restaurants (and stores) makes me feel like I am in any surburban mall in the country.

                                        One glimmer of light is the new Masala Yangu which prepares some very good & interesting African food.

                                        I'm now a bit envious of other 'burbs like Geneva which seem to have a good number of good independent restaurants like Niche, Isabellas, and Urban Grill. Even Wheaton has gotten into the act with perenial favorite Suzettes and the new Cellar Bistro.

                                        1. re: SirEatsALot
                                          m
                                          markh Sep 13, 2007 02:30 PM

                                          Two comments.

                                          Unless Masala Yangu got a GREAT deal on their rent, I sadly predict that they will not survive the lean time after they lose the "fad" diners. This is why downtown Naperville has become chain hell -- only chains can afford the exhorbitant rents and wait out the inevitable lean times.

                                          And there is no question that Geneva is the mecca for fine dining in the west suburbs. However, don't forget to add Wildwood to the list of excellent independently-owned restaurants in Geneva!

                                          1. re: markh
                                            l
                                            libgirl2 Sep 14, 2007 08:50 AM

                                            Oh I hope it doesn't close, I haven't had the chance to go there yet!

                                      2. re: markh
                                        l
                                        lemiller610 Mar 31, 2009 08:44 AM

                                        Rosebud is changing it's concept in Naperville from Italian to Burgers and Mac-and-Cheese type of 'comfort food'. VERY strange for a restaurant chain that has never done anything but Italian.
                                        (side note, the "word on the street" is that the company treats their employees like !@#^%*($ and has a few marks against them on the Better Business Bureau).

                                      3. re: robov
                                        n
                                        naperwino Sep 13, 2007 02:05 PM

                                        I concur with most of this, too - except I'm with markh on Rosebud. It's like the Olive Garden with larger portions, (like anyone needs that!)

                                        Other than the African place that SirEats mentioned, La Sorella manages to stay pretty consistent with well prepared dishes with fresh ingredients, and an acceptable wine list, even if it is a part of a small local chain.

                                        Another great independent lost - Arbor Vitae! I miss the Wild Ass coffee!!

                                        1. re: robov
                                          s
                                          swsidejim Sep 13, 2007 02:10 PM

                                          I cannot agree with Rosebud being great. It is the only restaurant I ever worked in that I will never recommend to anyone who asks me about them. No sour grapes involved, I left them for greener pastures.

                                          I feel Naperville has become a chain restaurant hell. I was born there in 1970, and just moved away(sw of Chicago in the country) from that rat race almost 2 years ago. I still have family I visit there almost monthly, and we never eat in Naperville, we typically go to Chicago to eat, since there is very little worthwhile in regards to dining in Naperville, especially downtown.

                                          1. re: swsidejim
                                            s
                                            SirEatsALot Sep 14, 2007 06:43 AM

                                            As much as I think the food options in downtown Naperville aren't very good, I still enjoy going there and grabbing a drink and people watching.

                                            1. re: SirEatsALot
                                              s
                                              swsidejim Sep 14, 2007 07:07 AM

                                              Having a drink in downtown Naperville is a totally different story, and I agree with you.

                                            2. re: swsidejim
                                              r
                                              RMA Sep 14, 2007 03:01 PM

                                              Sounds like we're about the same age and both grew up in the area. While I guess I kind of can see your point about downtown N'ville becoming a "chain restaurant hell", I think it's worth noting that when we were growing up there really weren't many restaurants in downtown N'ville period. Washington Square and Landmark (now Jimmy's) really were the only restaurants in town, for many years, as far as I can recall. When it comes down to it, I think I prefer the way things are now, and I certainly wouldn't want to live in an area like Plainfield or Oswego where there's not much of anything other than chains like Chili's and Applebees. To each his own.

                                              1. re: RMA
                                                s
                                                swsidejim Sep 17, 2007 10:58 AM

                                                I agree with your statement regarding Plainfield, and Oswego, those place almost have as many chains as Naperville.

                                                Luckily where I live, out near Starved Rock, we have not been totally invaded by the chains yet. There are still many quality family owned restaurants, and supper clubs to choose from. We also have some of the best fried chicken in the state, as well as probably the best cajun restaurant in the state(Ron's Cajun Connection). Unfortunately as the population moves west in search of affordable housing, and some land, the chains will follow.

                                                I still prefer to drive an hour and a half into Chicago to eat vs 40 mins to Naperville.

                                                1. re: swsidejim
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                                                  libgirl2 Sep 29, 2007 12:14 PM

                                                  Just ate at Ron's last weekend..... I love it there! If I lived close by I would eat there weekly.

                                                  1. re: libgirl2
                                                    s
                                                    swsidejim Sep 30, 2007 06:46 AM

                                                    im glad you enjoyed Ron's. We eat there maybe every other month, and obviously love his food, and his personality.

                                              2. re: swsidejim
                                                a
                                                apbmb4me Sep 28, 2007 12:18 PM

                                                Has anyone ever eaten at the Orchard Valley restaurant at the golf course there? Its off Orchard Road just a few miles south of I-88. I had dinner there and it was really quite good.

                                                1. re: apbmb4me
                                                  s
                                                  swsidejim Sep 28, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                  I have never tried it.

                                                  You mentioned it is south of I-88 if you exit at Orchard. I sometimes come in through Sugar Grove to get to Naperville from where I live further out west. What is their menu like?

                                                  1. re: swsidejim
                                                    a
                                                    apbmb4me Oct 1, 2007 12:23 PM

                                                    The menu is american food, usually 4 or 5 fish specials. I've had the shishkabobs and they were very tasty, my husband had the butt steak and said it was great, my neighbor loves the salmon. The atmosphere is very friendly, it is an older crowd of people and they seem to all know each other. When we were there three different couples came up to the table next to us to say hi to their friends. I think its nice. We were quite young compared to several of the other people there, but that doesn't bother me. good food, good price! I checked the web site and the menu is available at www.orchardvalleygolf.com

                                              3. re: robov
                                                r
                                                RMA Sep 14, 2007 02:49 PM

                                                Interesting post and I missed it earlier this week. I agree with some of your observations, but my overall impression of the downtown dining scene is not nearly as negative as yours or swsidejim's. I was born in Naperville in 1969 and have lived in the area my whole life. Like you, I've seen the changes -- some good, some bad. I wish that downtown Naperville could sustain high-end, independently owned places like there are in Geneva, but apparently it can't. I know this sounds snobby, but I also find that many who frequent downtown are boorish and appear unsophisticated -- there also are many teenagers. I suspect that many of these folks are from surrounding towns and areas where there isn't much going on.

                                                That said, as much as I complain about the parking and crowds in downtown N'ville, we always manage to get a decent parking spot (imagine doing that in Lincoln Park or Lakeview, or near Rush Street). Moreover, we have a host of places at which we know we can get a very good meal. La Sorella consistently is good. Hugo's, which in my opinion has great food, a great menu, good service (most of the time), and excellent management also is a favorite. There are others, such as Catch 35 and even Heaven on Seaven that have a lot to offer.

                                                Undoubtedly, the most thriving places are local chains or outposts of Chicago restaraunts. I wish that there were more Geneva-type restaurants like Isabella's and Niche (and that Elaine's/10 West, Copa Cubana and Carzz still were around), but it has become apparent that these places, for one reason or another, cannot exist. While that is a bit sad, in general I feel that I'm awfully spoiled to have so many options within 5-10 min. of my driveway.

                                              4. c
                                                care2 Sep 15, 2007 06:05 AM

                                                Is the Samba Room still in Naperville? I always liked it there.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: care2
                                                  manomin Sep 15, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                  No, not for some time, it's now Timpano Chop House. Check it out, they have some great specials for happy hour and I've had many good dinners and lunches there.
                                                  The mussels were really great.

                                                2. janybird Oct 4, 2007 05:06 AM

                                                  This weekend in Naperville the Rotary Club is sponsoring it's sixteenth annual Oktoberfest. It will be held in a huge heated tent on Van Buren Street, just west of Main, across from Hugo's Frog Bar right in downtown Naperville. Food choices include grilled sausages, bratwurst and all-beef hot dogs, boneless, skinless chicken breast, sauerkraut and hot German potato salad, apple strudel and German chocolate cake.

                                                  Domestic and German import beers, such as Warsteiner, will be available as well as wine, along with soft drinks.

                                                  I went last year and saw many authentic german costumes, got a free german hat and had dinner. We had a good time listening to the german um-pah band. It's a good place to go and meet a group of friends for a little seasonal fun.

                                                  1. t
                                                    TrishL Oct 26, 2007 09:18 AM

                                                    Do you know of any dog friendly restaurants or eateries in Naperville? I'll be bringing my dog to the riverwalk area this weekend and would love to grab a bite with a friend.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: TrishL
                                                      h
                                                      Hensley Oct 26, 2007 10:31 AM

                                                      Thankfully, no. We take our dog to the Riverwalk quite often for a stroll. I like dogs, but I really don't want to have to deal with them while I'm dining at a restaurant. Even if the dog is very well behaved, I don't want to have dog hair floating into my food.

                                                      1. re: TrishL
                                                        r
                                                        RMA Oct 26, 2007 11:11 AM

                                                        I don't know if the weather will be that great this weekend, but the outdoor patio at Quigley's Irish Pub frequently has dog owners with their dogs (we had lunch there last Saturday and there were at least 4 or 5 dogs). They have good pub food and excellent burgers. Also, if you are in downtown Naperville, you should check out Two Bostons.

                                                        http://www.two-bostons.com/

                                                        1. re: RMA
                                                          l
                                                          libgirl2 Oct 26, 2007 01:44 PM

                                                          Ugh Quigley's, I have been there twice and do not like. The food isn't bad, but I waas treated as if I wasn't there. Once inside when my husband and I stopped by. They made us feel like an inconvenience because it was around 8pm. Then the next time was outside, were we waited and waited for service. Once we got our drinks, no one came back to see if we needed anything else, and we were planning on it. Everyone around us got service though. I will NEVER go back !

                                                          1. re: libgirl2
                                                            r
                                                            RMA Oct 26, 2007 01:57 PM

                                                            We have been going to Quigley's for years and have never experienced these types of issues. The only bad thing that I can say about the place is that it does get really, really crowded inside on weekend nights and I generally try to avoid it later at night on the weekends.

                                                            If your experience with the service was that bad, then you should have said something to one of the servers or bartenders...We know several of the bartenders and servers in passing, and they generally are pretty good.

                                                        2. re: TrishL
                                                          janybird Oct 26, 2007 02:03 PM

                                                          Quigleys would be THE place for you to get something to eat and bring your dog. They actually advertise their patio as "dog friendly, as long as the dog is friendly". It's an easy going place, good for a casual lunch. It gets a little crazier at night as it is very close to the college, etc. etc.

                                                        3. b
                                                          bakerboyz Apr 11, 2008 01:43 PM

                                                          I will be staying in Naperville for a wedding in August and have never been before, what would you recommend? We like steaks, burgers, italian, pizza, etc.

                                                          11 Replies
                                                          1. re: bakerboyz
                                                            c
                                                            CJT Apr 11, 2008 03:02 PM

                                                            Downtown Naperville has lots of good restaurants in easy walking distance from one another:
                                                            Catch 35 - seafood, Hugo's Frog Bar - steaks, Rizzo's - Italian (not a red sauce place), La Sorella de Francesca - Italian (not red either), Heaven on Seven - Cajun; Potter's Place - Mexicanish, Timpano Chop House, Mongolian BBQ (concoct your own dish, they cook it for you), Noodles and Company, Tango - Brazilian.

                                                            1. re: bakerboyz
                                                              janybird Apr 12, 2008 01:17 PM

                                                              The downtown Naperville area is unique in that it has over TWENTY full-service restaurants that are within walking distance of each other. At the high end of the steak places are Hugo's Frog Bar and Catch 35 off of Van Buren, Sullivans on Main St. and Timpano Italian Chop house at Washington & Chicago Ave. Ted's Montana Grill on Jefferson would be a "lesser expensive" steak place relatively speaking. Hugo's has EXCELLENT steaks and has a lively atmosphere with live jazz emanating through the place from their bar area.

                                                              The pizza places are Lou Malnati's on Jefferson and Giordano's on Main Street. Lou Malnati's is famous for their Chicago style pizza and their location is in the old Naperville firehouse. They open the firehouse doors to the restaurant when weather permits. There are three italian restaurants that are all on Jefferson just steps from each other: Rizzo's (as was previously suggested), Tessa's Famiglia e Amici and LaSorella de Francesca. Rizzo's is a smaller casual place with dishes that have an italian flare. Tessa's is a larger casual place with a wide ranging traditional italian menu and huge portions. La Sorella is on the higher end and encourages the lively art of dining and is very popular with the locals.

                                                              You'll find a good burger at the area bars & clubs that are on Chicago Ave., west of Washington: The Lantern, Club Mamalu, Features Bar & Grill and Jimmy's Grill which has a huge outdoor seating area.

                                                              Check out the Riverwalk if you have time. It's a beautiful park right in downtown Naperville that runs along the river with lush landscaping, brick paths, fountains, covered bridges, paddle boats and the carillon (bell tower).

                                                              1. re: janybird
                                                                i
                                                                IHateHillary Apr 24, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                                Neither of you mentioned Rosebud, which I think is consistently one of the best Italian restaurants in downtown Naperville.

                                                                1. re: IHateHillary
                                                                  s
                                                                  swsidejim Apr 24, 2008 01:09 PM

                                                                  I opened up the Rosebud as one of the line cooks, and I would never recommend it to anyone.

                                                                  1. re: swsidejim
                                                                    w
                                                                    wineaux Apr 24, 2008 08:48 PM

                                                                    We hit Rosebud a couple of times a year, usually for a special occasion. Without going into detail, can you say why you wouldn't recommend it (quality, cleanliness, authenticity)?

                                                                    1. re: wineaux
                                                                      s
                                                                      swsidejim Apr 25, 2008 06:14 AM

                                                                      All I will say is that it was the dirtiest kitchen I ever worked in.

                                                                      1. re: swsidejim
                                                                        w
                                                                        wineaux Apr 26, 2008 09:15 PM

                                                                        Thanks.... I greatly appreciate knowing that. I always wonder what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchens of restaurants that we frequent.

                                                                  2. re: IHateHillary
                                                                    janybird Apr 24, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                    You are so right. I can't believe I left out Rosebud. It has been at Main and Chicago Ave. for a long time and is a local favorite with nice big portions at reasonable prices. If the weather is nice you could also sit outside along the river on their deck.

                                                                    1. re: janybird
                                                                      b
                                                                      bakerboyz Apr 25, 2008 06:47 AM

                                                                      How do Timpano's Chop House and Hugo's Frog Bar compare for quality and Price?

                                                                      1. re: bakerboyz
                                                                        janybird Apr 26, 2008 08:02 PM

                                                                        I believe Hugo's and Timpano's are in very similar in price and quality of food. What sets them apart (in my opinion) is the atmosphere of each place. Hugo's has a nautical theme with a much bigger, busier bar area. Timpano's has a club-like atmosphere with more restaurant area than bar, and to me it doesn't have as much of a crowded feel (more elbow room) on a busy night.

                                                                        1. re: janybird
                                                                          b
                                                                          bakerboyz Apr 28, 2008 05:51 AM

                                                                          Thank you for the reply.

                                                              2. c
                                                                clescaut Jul 7, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                                Hi
                                                                I am from France. I will move to Naperville in September. I have never been to this area. Since you seem to know Naperville very well I was wondering if you could tell me where the downtown area is and where the bars and restaurants are. I will live close to the route 59 station. Do you know if that is far?
                                                                Thank you.
                                                                I hope you can help me get more familiar with the area before I arrive.
                                                                Best,
                                                                Camille

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: clescaut
                                                                  l
                                                                  LikestoEatout Jul 8, 2008 03:31 AM

                                                                  Camille, I give you credit for moving around the world to a place unseen. This website, listed below, should help you a lot. Note that there is a guide to the Rte 59 area and a guide to the downtown, each very different in atmosphere and attractions. Being by the Rte 59 Metra station gives you a great opportunity to explore all of Chicagoland! Can you tell us what brings you here?

                                                                  http://www.visitnaperville.com/

                                                                  1. re: LikestoEatout
                                                                    c
                                                                    CJT Jul 8, 2008 07:54 AM

                                                                    Si vous serez près de la station Route 59, il vous faudra une auto pour aller au centre de Naperville (5-7 km). Il y a pas mal de restaurants aussi sur la Route 59: Italien, Espagnol, Koréen, et Américain. Naperville vous offre beaucoup de choses à faire le soir et le weekend. En plus, le train va de Route 59 à Chicago bien souvent.

                                                                    A Naperville, il y a North Central College (université) où l'on trouve un groupe de l'Alliance Française.

                                                                  2. re: clescaut
                                                                    janybird Jul 9, 2008 05:56 PM

                                                                    Hi Camille,
                                                                    Downtown Naperville is only about 4-1/2 miles from the Route 59 train station. The really great thing about the downtown area is that there are so very many different places to eat, drink and be entertained within walking distance of each other. Here is a map that you can download and print out to get a good idea of what bars and restaurants there are to visit and also where to park. Hope it helps http://www.napernightlife.com/map.html

                                                                  3. janybird Jul 29, 2008 10:57 AM

                                                                    Tessa's Has Closed
                                                                    The doors were permanently closed at Tessa's Famiglia e Amici on Sunday July 27. Was it the downturn in the economy? The location? Parking? Whatever it was, the restaurant and all its contents at 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville are up for sale now.

                                                                    There are still plenty of other Italian places in downtown Naperville such as La Sorella Di Francesca, Rosebud, Giordanos and Lou Malnati's.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: janybird
                                                                      l
                                                                      libgirl2 Jul 30, 2008 05:55 AM

                                                                      Masala Yangu closed as well.

                                                                      1. re: libgirl2
                                                                        l
                                                                        LikestoEatout Jul 30, 2008 07:21 AM

                                                                        Masala Yangu still operates a catering business and according to their website, they say to look for their new location.

                                                                        1. re: libgirl2
                                                                          m
                                                                          markh Jul 30, 2008 09:13 AM

                                                                          This is sad news, but I predicted its demise earlier in this thread. Downtown Naperville, with its obscene rents, can no longer support independent restaurants. It has become chain hell and it will only get worse. Granted, some of these chains are pretty good because they are single outposts of Chicago restaurants. But they are chains nonetheless...

                                                                      2. janybird Jul 30, 2008 03:17 PM

                                                                        Hidden Italian Gem in Downtown Naperville?
                                                                        I went to Jilly's recently and had some great Italian food. They just started offering a full dinner menu and have partnered with the people at ZaZa's Italian Steak House. I don't think word has gotten around about this (yet) because it could have been more crowded. That night we had a gourmet pizza that was really very good. Other tables around us had full Italian dinners with pastas, etc. I intend to go back and try an entree next time. Anyone else try their new menu?

                                                                        1. n
                                                                          naperwino Jul 31, 2008 02:29 PM

                                                                          No one's mentioned the latest re-incarnation of the Red Door - the Grumpy Bulldog has been open a couple of months now. It carries the best selection of craft beers outside of Chicago, (similar to the Map Room or Hopleaf, if you're familiar with those places.) The food is pretty good too - satisfying pub grub. I'm already addicted to their mac n cheese which is always an option instead of fries with a sandwich. Their BLT with avocado and chipolte mayo is also pretty crave-worthy.

                                                                          1. nsxtasy Mar 27, 2009 11:24 AM

                                                                            Sugar Toad is a contemporary American restaurant in Naperville which opened a few months ago. I've read favorable reviews in the media. Has anyone been there and care to share an opinion?

                                                                            Restaurant website: www.sugartoad.com
                                                                            Metromix/Tribune Review: http://chicago.metromix.com/home/revi...

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: nsxtasy
                                                                              Chicago Wine Geek Mar 31, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                              Had lunch there and it was outstanding! Probably the best hamburger I've ever had, great side dishes, great fried chicken. And a nice little sample of Sugartoad! Can't wait for dinner there (next Friday).

                                                                            2. nsxtasy Mar 28, 2009 12:32 PM

                                                                              Katy's Dumpling House, the restaurant in Westmont, recently opened a second location in Naperville. You can read opinions about it in the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593207

                                                                              Katy's Dumpling House
                                                                              790 Royal St. George Dr., #115-116
                                                                              Naperville
                                                                              630-416-1188
                                                                              www.katysdumpling.com

                                                                              Riva is also open in Naperville; you can read opinions about it at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/607084

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: nsxtasy
                                                                                Chicago Wine Geek Mar 31, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                                Loved it. Just as good as the other location in Westmont. The noodles and the soups are outstanding.

                                                                              2. nsxtasy Mar 28, 2009 01:04 PM

                                                                                There are several additional topics about restaurants in Naperville that may also be useful to check out:

                                                                                What's To Eat In Naperville? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/119362
                                                                                GOOD Restaurant In Naperville & Beyond - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/526552
                                                                                Ethnic Restaruants In The Naperville Area - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/421316

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