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Any reviews for Stillwater in Downers Grove?

Haven't been to Stillwater in DG yet, but the initial things I'm reading are middling. Any opinions?

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  1. We had a terrible dining experience...just awful....went in on a week nite....were told to wait in the bar area....they gave us wine menus, but never took our orders...30 minutes later we were shown our tables....30 minutes later we finally got our wine....an hour later they finally served us our meal, which was cold and just plain mediocre....the six of us agreed that we'd never go back....The owner is in way over his head.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hooboy4

      We live in Downers Grove and try to eat at our local places. We go to Stillwater about once every week or two. Sometimes we eat in the bar and sometimes in the restaurant area. The service is inconsistent as is the food, but Mark the owner seems to be trying. After all these visits, the owner finally came over to talk to us. Any good local restaurantur should start to recognize the locals who frequent their establishment. He didn't seem to know how often we dine there. I had even booked an office lunch there in January. Now that we have chatted it will be interesting to see if he remembers us. The food is up and down and some items seem pricey. Great burgers though. They have a very stylish slanted bowl that they serve alot of dishes in, but some should NOT be served in a bowl with a low slanted side. I've eaten some very messy meals there thanks to this oddly shaped bowl! He is adding some new appetizers and we tried the calamari which is not yet on the menu. It was ok. We also tried the cheese and mest board but is was over prices for the slivers of cheese and the couple of boxed club crackers that were included. The board at the DOC Wine Bar is MUCH better and included more interesting items. Because we are locals, we will be back but there are three new palces in the works and Stillwater's competition is about to get stiff.

      1. re: Bookchic

        What and where are the 3 new places in the works? I visit my family in DG a few times a year but am 1800 miles away in SoCal!

        1. re: RSMBob

          There is a new Mexican place across from the train stations- more upper scale Mexican, not impressed yet but it is an option.

          The old Herberts Menswear is being re-built into a family Italian restaurant and there is a third Italian bistro going in at the corner of Main on the south side of the train tracks.

      2. re: hooboy4

        Don't forget, there was a pomegranate sticker floating in Kristin's martini. No joke!!! The only good meal at the table was the country penne. Tasty, but not tasty enough to make up for the poor service, my bland chicken satay, and the hour long wait to receive our food. By the way, we got free cake to make up for the problems we encountered. The whole restaurent probably walked out with free cake that night! The cake was actually good, but not worth a return trip. I honestly couldn't recommend this place to anybody.

      3. IMHO Stillwater is "Stillstruggling". The owners have a great concept going, but the fresh food ideas coming from owner-chef Mark cannot overcome the lack of attention on the service front. If you want a real treat, you've got to get out there on a Saturday night when the local jazz combo is playing...these guys are HOT! They are not there every Sat, I think the first weekend of the month. Feel free to read on, but in summary, the service, selection and portions are hurting the Wine Bar concept big time. The restaurant is mediocre for the price paid. The ambiance is not bad.

        I found the restaurant staff to be far better than the Wine Bar/lounge staff who really are louzy. You can wait forever to be served a glass of wine, and, "oh did you want to our food menu for the bar area? Please wait forever again." In all honesty, not all nights are bad, but I've been out on several Saturday nights and I would have fired every server in the Wine Bar. I think the problem is they need a great floor manager to kick some butt so Mark can focus on what he does best in the kitchen.

        Now let's talk a bit of the wine bar. Pretty small selection of wines for a "Wine Bar" and what's with those nice big glasses that come with such little content. Either fill 'em up or get smaller glasses. I felt ripped off compared to other comparable restaurant wine service portions.

        Finally, the menu in the Wine Bar could use some good old fashioned "munchies". Don't get me wrong, the food served in this area is tasty, but sometimes it would be nice to have a plate of cheese/crackers, chips/salsa, pretzels, etc. rather than some pricey exotic dish.

        1. terrible food, & service, I do not see this place lasting very long.

          I will not be going back.

          1 Reply
          1. re: swsidejim

            We were @ Stillwater's about a month ago... really wanted to like but was terribly unimpressed. Went to Joyful's Cafe last weekend & although the food was ok, it was lacking the 'umph' it used to have. Also, they need to change the greeting on their voicemail.... it says they're open until 8:30 on Saturday's; we arrived about 6:00 PM and they were obviously closed. They need to update the message. Joyful's is not so anymore!

          2. Is it true that Stillwater is under new ownership? Recent reports (June 2009) indicate that service is still terrible, host/ess staff still can't control the service of the room and food is lackluster. Any reason to hold high hopes for this restaurant?

            (see also message board posts http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/474794)

            1. I had the rare "honor" of eating at Stillwater's on their very first night open. I was walking by, and I had an hour to kill in downtown Downers Grove, so I figured I would try it. Now, I am forgiving to restaurants that are "working the kinks out," but to be honest, this place had no business being open. Here's what I experienced:
              - The waitress didn't know what beers they had available
              - She also didn't know what salad dressings they had available, and disappeared for ten full minutes to find out
              - I ordered a filet with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Inexplicably, the kitchen sends out my mashed potatoes with my salad. So the waitress brings me a salad...and a bowl of mashed potatoes, which I don't eat
              - When the steak and vegetables come, the waitress realizes the mistake, and has the kitchen make me another order of potatoes
              - The steak is rare (I ordered it medium) and the vegetables are overseasoned to the point where I cannot eat them
              - The chef comes out and greets every diner in the bar area -- except me

              Save your money and go somewhere else...

              1. Stillwater is "underwater". Closed this fall. Amazing, lasted less than 2 years!

                5141 Main St, Downers Grove, IL 60515