Any good restaurants right off I-94 between Libertyville, IL and Ocomomowoc, WI?
I'm traveling with friends from Libertyville, IL (northern suburb of Chicago) to Oconomowoc,WI (just north of Milwaukee). We're all going to a concert together and I though it would be nice to grab dinner on the way to break up the drive. Any suggestions for good eats that won't take us too far off the Interstate?
I take it that you will be taking the 894 bypass that goes around downtown. On 94 just 1/8 th of a mile past the zoo on Bluemound road is Mo's Irish Pub,10842 W Bluemound Rd,http://www.mosirishpub.com/, you'd take the Mayfair rd North exit from 94.
There is also a several restaurant in the Brookfield Square shopping area off of Moorland rd North, most of them chains. If you take Moorland road South and turn West on Greenfield ave there is a cajun restaurant Lagniappe,17001 W Greenfield Ave,http://www.lagniappebrasserie.com/.
The Moorland Road exit from I-94 is a couple miles west of where I-894 rejoins I-94, so you will go past it on I-94 even if you take the I-894 bypass around Milwaukee.
One of the chains located in that shopping center just north of the Moorland Road exit from I-94 (right before you get to Bluemound Road, no more than half a mile from the exit) is Mitchell's Fish Market. I haven't been to this particular location, but I've been to a couple of their other locations, and I absolutely LOVE it; the one near home is my favorite place for seafood in the Chicago area, and from what I've seen elsewhere, they are quite consistent across locations. www.mitchellsfishmarket.com
Other chains in that shopping center include Fleming's, a steakhouse which I haven't been to ( www.flemingssteakhouse.com ) and Claim Jumper, an American/burgers restaurant which has huge portions of mediocre food and I don't recommend ( www.claimjumper.com ). There are lots more restaurants, mostly chains (e.g. TGI Friday's, Chili's, Bonefish Grill), along the stretch of Bluemound Road between Moorland and the Bluemound Road exit from I-94, which is around 3 miles west of the Moorland exit.
Along that stretch, there's a pretty good California style bistro type place with food that leans towards Italian. It's called Louise's ( www.louiseswisconsin.com ), up the hill on the south side of Bluemound, hard to spot but it's directly opposite the Acura dealer which is on the north side of Bluemound. It's much closer to the Bluemound Road exit than the Moorland exit. I've been there several times and it's always been very good.
Oconomowoc is west of Milwaukee, not north of Milwaukee.
Basically, most of the Milwaukee area is right along your route, so you might want to search this forum for recommendations in and around Milwaukee. You can take I-894 around Milwaukee or I-94 right past downtown Milwaukee; unless there is a specific restaurant you'd like to hit downtown, I recommend the I-894 route, as there is a never-ending construction project on I-94 in the downtown area (probably the same reason Living recommended it).
Also note that the towns north of Libertyville in Lake County, Illinois are on your route, and those are generally reported in the Chicago forum on Chowhound. For example, there is a HUGE discussion topic on this area at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/313093 (260 posts, may take a while to load).
Thanks. I stand corrected...Oconomowoc is indeed west of Milwaukee. I grew up in Wisconsin...but I guess it's been a while since I've been in the Milwaukee area. I will definitely be taking the I-894 route. I'll check out the discussion topic you suggested for the Lake County area for future use, but at this point I'm thinking I'd like to break up the drive with a stop along the way in the Milwaukee area.
My favorite Milwaukee restaurant, Mekato's Bakery & Cafe, is just off I-94 at 35th, then across the bridge. Note that it's very casual - you order at the counter, and there's no alcohol or tablecloths. The food is great, though. (My report is at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/558202 .)
And when you're in Oconomowoc, stop in at the Golosi Cafe for gelato. They have soup, salad, and sandwiches, too.
Leave Libertyville hungry and don't wait until Milwaukee - get off I-94 at Hwy 50 in Kenosha and head north on the east frontage road to Little Europe Schnitzel House. Have the sampler platter if you've never been here before - you'll get their sublime Old Prague Schnitzel, some home-made sausages, spaetzle and red cabbage. Wash it down with a couple of large Koestritzers unless you're driving. If I still lived here, I would be here once a week and alternate between the Old Prague Schnitzel and their sauerbraten.
re: Rick from Point
Ive always been curious about Little Europe, it's always looked so touristy that I may have passed on a good thing.
Also at Hwy 50 is the Brat Stop, which has pretty good Brats and a wide menu, but I find the rest of the food there to be just OK at best.
The best food in Kenosha is served at Franks Diner ( http://franksdinerkenosha.com ) in downtown Kenosha, they tend to keep breakfast & lunch menu unfortunately for you. Tenuta's ( http://www.tenutasdeli.com ) not only is the best Italian grocery store north of the Harlem ave Little Italy area, but the also have a fantastic in house deli that cranks out amazing paninis and char-grilled homemade Italian sausage sandwiches.
In Racine is Wells Brothers Italian Restaurant. They are the number 6 rated pizza by Everyone loves Pizza, rated as one of the top 10 pizzas in the country by USA Today, and are this chowhound's choice for the best cracker thin crust pizza ANYWHERE. It's about 6 miles east of the tri-state right on Sheridan Rd & a few blocks north of Hwy 20 and well worth the extra 20 min detour from the main Hwy. Since I'm in Gurnee, I enjoy driving north up the lakefront on Sheridan Rd to Racine anyway, so going that way makes Well's "on the way"!
The best recommendation I can offer is on places in which to avoid, for example: The Apple Holler, its great to go pick apples there, just don't eat the food its horrendus, The Texas Roadhouse = Lone Star Steakhouse clone, The Iron Skillet is a Truck Stop with bad road food.
In Milwaukee the options are tremendous and numerous. They also have a huge Mexican population and great Mexican food is found everywhere much like Chicago. It's a damn shame Chowhound doesn't have a South-East Wisconsin link since there are literally 1,000's of places to eat, but try searching the Midwest board for more.